Domestic tourism has flourished in recent years and the
resultant dividend has encouraged Saudi businessmen and businesswomen to invest
more funds in this sector.
“Recent statistics revealed remarkable increase in tourism
revenues,” said a tourism official who requested anonymity. “This has convinced
investors to put more money in the sector.”
Tourism festivals being held in various parts of the
Kingdom, especially in the tourist resorts of Abha, Baha, Taif and Jeddah also
attracted a large number of visitors.
“The government considers the tourism sector as a major
source for diversification of revenue,” the official told Okaz/Saudi Gazette.
He said the government has been providing all support to the
tourism sector considering its significance and has been exerting strenuous
efforts to transform it into a productive economic sector.
“The tourism sector offers not only a good opportunity to
investors but also millions of new jobs to young Saudi men and women to help
them earn a decent living,” he explained.
The sector receives a big boost with the influx of millions
of pilgrims who come for Haj and Umrah every year. “The Vision 2030 aims at
increasing the number of Haj and Umrah pilgrims to 30 million annually,” the
Saudi Arabia is replete with tourist attractions including
historical sites such as Madain Saleh, Diriyah and the Historical Area in
Jeddah. These places currently draw a large number of foreign tourists.
“The new vision aims at developing tourism as a productive
and revenue earning sector,” the official said, adding that the Kingdom expects
the arrival of a large number of foreign tourists from different parts of the
world to spend their vacation.
“The tourism sector will definitely play an important role
in boosting the Kingdom’s economy and accelerating its growth. The Kingdom is
capable of adding value to the sector,” he said.
The sector offers a golden opportunity to domestic investors
to implement new projects. The planned 450-km Makkah-Madinah high-speed railway
will boost the sector.
Apart from religious tourism, the vision aims at promoting
medical tourism making use of the Kingdom’s advanced health centers. Some of
these centers have been successful in conducting rare surgeries and providing
treatment for tumors.
“Our medical centers match up to advanced health facilities
around the world,” the official said.
Saudi Arabia is famous for conducting sensitive operations
for the separation of conjoined twins.
The salubrious climate in Taif attracts a large number of
foreign tourists to the Kingdom. “Taif is one of the best places for healing
and recuperation,” the official pointed out. – SG