SCTA President: Tourism sector will create 1.7 million jobs by 2020
Almasalla Arab Travel Portal News – Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, President of SCTA, has recently pointed out that the Jeddah city is strongly predicted to be one of the most important attractive destinations in the Middle East after the establishment of the new King Abdul Aziz International Airport, in addition to the completion of a number of underway tourism destinations project besides remarkable growth in the accommodation facilities, which coincide with the great ongoing expansion in the ‘two holy mosques’ across the region.
President of SCTA made his comments while addressing the opening ceremony of Jeddah Economic Forum, in Jeddah city yesterday, Wednesday, 19th March.
President of SCTA projected at the venue that, the tourism sector will create 1.7 million job opportunities for both, male and female Saudi citizens by the year 2020, besides it will contribute to the growth of national economy with 2.6%.
President of SCTA also disclosed that, SCTA will soon launch a program under the theme "Live Saudi Arabia" in an attempt to enable Saudi youths to closely identify, explore and enjoy their homeland historically and culturally, also to enable them to discover the country’s potentials through performing tourism oriented programs.
SCTA will also launch a comprehensive program under the theme "Youth tourism" in an effort to make the youth unlimitedly benefit from tourism through participating in collective tours as well as undertake different tourism activities in collaboration with the partners of SCTA.
SCTA works with its partners to introduce Saudi youth to new opportunities available in different tourism sectors and at the locations of tourism growth such as the new tourism destinations and the like. Job opportunities in the tourism sectors are allowed for the youth at their places of residence and for varying educational qualification and age categories.
Provision of job opportunities to Saudi citizens is one of major objectives of the development of the national tourism. To achieve this purpose, SCTA has established the National Project for Tourism Human Resources Development (Takamul). Reports of the Ministry of Labor, which is one of key partners of SCTA, have indicated that, the national tourism is a key source for the provision of jobs to citizens, especially in the accommodation sector. The report, which covers most attractive tourism sectors for Saudi job seekers, indicated that, tourism sector is considered as one of the top three sectors that are attracting Saudi nationals for taking up jobs.
President of SCTA also revealed that, the number of jobs in the tourism sector in 2013 reached 751,000, in which Saudis represent 27.1%. Tourism sector is ranked second after the banking sector in terms of job Saudization, and it is likely to move soon to the first position. He added that tourism provides a suitable economic environment for the creation of job opportunities and investments for youth, and that the rate of Saudization in tourism sector reflects the youth’s increased turnout to join tourism jobs and participate in tourism investments.
SCTA President in his speech highlighted the most important economic indicators of tourism in the last year according to Tourism Information and Research Center (MAS), saying that, tourism will provide 1.7 million jobs by 2020, and that the current available jobs have reached has 1.1 million, adding that, the sector has contributed to the enhancement of national economy with 2.6% of the national GDP, and with 5.2% of non-oil GDP as tourism value-added has reached SR 75 billion by the end of 2013, and domestic tourism trips reached 37.1 million with expenditure reached SR 76 billion . The available tourism facilities are about 209,000 hotel rooms and 113.000 furnished apartments.
On the other hand, in a working paper he delivered in the conference, President of SCTA, under the theme ‘Tourism as opportunity for economic growth and creation of jobs to youth’, said, “Saudi Arabia has been ranked 23 internationally in terms of advanced infrastructure as the projects of infrastructure contribute to turn the relative advantages into competitive advantages. The economy of the Kingdom is ranked 19th among the largest economies in the world and, the largest regionally as there are a large number of infrastructure investment projects under execution, that may reach SR 1.8 trillion, especially in the construction of road networks, transport, seaports and the like, within the next five years.
About SR 100 billion were allocated for the upgrade of infrastructure including, airports, railways, and seaports within the next five years, His Royal Highness added.
SCTA President said that, in its efforts to achieve sustainable economic growth, the State has focused on the development of a number of emerging economic projects in the forefront of them comes the tourism sector. The Stat’s ninth development plan has stressed the social and economic importance of tourism development and on the positive impacts that could be reached through the economic growth, diversification of income resources, and balanced development, as the State’s persistent support to tourism sector is a key factor for the sustainable and productive tourism development.
President of SCTA, referred to State’s key role in the support and stimulation of national tourism, adding that, the Saudi citizen is the major focus of development process and is the most important national asset that all developmental plans are designed for his interest, besides he is capable of contributing effectively in the country’s development and modernization as well as his ability to uptake all challenges and changes in this respect are formidable.
The previous and recent resolutions of the government have affirmed the State’s attention towards the national tourism and have shown its interest in the enhancement of the national heritage as an important national asset.
Government’s attention was recently crowned by the approval of a number of vital projects, the most important of them were the King Abdullah Project for Care of the Cultural Heritage of the Kingdom and the Provision necessary financial and administrative support to SCTA, in addition to approving the National Strategy for Development of Handicraft, and establishment of Al Ogair Development as the first national integrated tourism destination, tackling the rise of the prices tourism services, improving services and status of the roadside stations along the regional highways and establishing the Heritage Buildings Investment Company and the establishment of the National Convention and Exhibition Center.
President of SCTA in his paper indicated that, the tourism development in the Kingdom is characterized by its high competitiveness nationally and internationally, given the unique geographical location of the Kingdom as the “crossroad of world civilizations”, and that tourism in the Kingdom is based on the distinguished nature and rich heritage of the Kingdom and its cultural diversity, in addition to government’s increased investments, its efforts in the development of infrastructure and tourism destinations, persistent development of provincial leaders and the increased focus on the new sectors, tackling all challenges facing tourism investment, Saudi citizen’s hospitality and acceptance of others.
SCTA President, in his paper also referred to the importance of educational institutions and qualification of the national cadres as a specialized center for human resources was established in this respect (Takamul) in an attempt to develop an advanced infrastructure for education and tourism qualification through designing appropriate training and educational programs.
Also a large number of Saudization programs in the tourism sectors were executed under the support of Human Resource Development Fund including carrying out about 188 training courses in handicraft for qualifying 3100 citizens, male and females, in addition to training 471 tourist guides, rehabilitating 40 trainers for tourist guidance from teaching staff of a number of colleges of Saudi universities, besides 33,000 security personnel who directly deal with tourists and hundreds of employees of customs and the Commission for Promotion of Virtue And Prevention of Vice (Haya) on the proper ways for dealing with tourists, and establishment of seven colleges, institutes and tourism departments in public universities and a formation of a number of private tourism institutes.
At the end of his speech President of SCTA stressed the importance of continuous support of the government to the national tourism sector and the provision of required financial support to tourism’s large projects, in addition to the stimulation of tourism investment in order to turn tourism in the Kingdom more competitive compared with the neighboring countries, in addition to attracting Saudi citizens to spend their vacation and holidays in their own country and enjoy its various tourism, heritage and cultural potentials.