Majid Al-Qasabi, the Saudi minister of commerce and investment, described the prospect of creating one million jobs for Saudis from the tourism sectors saying, “It is not out of the question and not exaggeration”.
Al-Qasabi said in an interview with Al-Arabiya that Saudi Arabia aims to become one of the top five tourism countries in the world, and that the contribution of the tourism sector to GDP from 3% to 10% by 2030.
Al-Qasabi explained that the implications of the decision to grant e-tourist visas to visitors from different countries of the world, through the Saudi consulates, electronically, or at airports without preconditions for visitors from 49 countries in the world, will have positive effects on several sectors in tourism, and other sectors related to tourism.
Al-Qasabi referred to the importance of the recovery of the tourism sectors themselves, which will generate jobs in hotels, restaurants, and tourism facilities, and in other sectors related to the supply chain of the tourism sector, such as transport and insurance.
Al-Qasabi also pointed to the importance of developing the tourism sector, for small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurs, many aspects of tourism services, such as translation and services for visitors depend on them.
Al-Qasabi noted the importance of the development of the hotel sector, in various regions of Saudi Arabia, which will be popular with tourists such as Abha and Asir, which witnessed the opening of a new hotel recently during the activities of the Soudah Season in Asir.
The Saudi government has said that a number of economic decisions aimed at increasing the total tourism spending in Saudi Arabia from residents and foreigners to $46.6bn in 2020 from $27.9bn in 2015.
Opening the doors of Saudi Arabia to tourists and visitors from around the world also means more promising opportunities for new and huge investments in the tourism sector, and creating more than one million new jobs by 2030.
Saudi Arabia is working to increase the capacity of its airports to 150 million passengers annually, and expects the number of hotel rooms in the cities and governorates of Saudi Arabia to increase by an additional 500,000 rooms.
Saudi Arabia has signed a number of MOUs and agreements with local and international investment companies in the tourism sector, with a total value of about SAR100bn.
This comes in conjunction with the announcement of the Supreme Commission for Tourism to start granting the Saudi e-tourist visa to tourists from 49 countries. The new e-tourist visa regime in Saudi Arabia, introduced last Friday, enables tourists from 49 countries, including China, the United States, Britain and Japan, to obtain a one-year, multiple-visit visa at a fee of SAR440.