By P.K. Abdul Ghafour, Arab News, Jeddah, Saudi
ArabiaMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
March 28, 2011--JEDDAH -- Saudi Arabia's tourism industry will create 2.23 million jobs by the end of 2020, Prince Sultan bin Salman, chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), announced on Sunday.
"We expect Saudization of jobs in the sector to reach 45 percent," the prince said, while addressing a meeting of SCTA's board of directors in Riyadh. He described the tourism sector as a major job generator.
Prince Sultan also spoke about increasing tourism spending in the Kingdom, adding that it would reach SR217 billion by 2020. He expected tourism investment worth SR62 billion by the public and private sectors during the current five-year development plan.
Speaking about the social welfare programs announced by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, he said it shows that citizens are the primary concern of the government and its development projects.
"King Abdullah's recent address to the nation proved that the citizen is the cornerstone of the Kingdom's development and the first responsible person to preserve its potentials and achievements," he said.
He described the royal decrees issued by the king as a new light on the Saudi horizon, adding that it would benefit all citizens in the country and improve their living conditions.
He emphasized the cultural and economic importance of architectural heritage. "We have to link our youth with their national history and heritage in order to help them imbibe its values," he added.
He stressed the importance of developing the Kingdom's tourism industry to accelerate its economic growth. He highlighted the acceptance received by domestic tourism from Saudi families.
The board approved the commission's general strategy for tourism development for the next 20 years. It also discussed policies related to tourism development and tour operators. SCTA has so far licensed 115 agents to provide tourism services.
The meeting approved a proposal to establish a national center for architectural heritage that would serve as an umbrella organization for related projects.
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Copyright (c) 2011, Arab News, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
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