Saudi Arabia has stressed that the tourism sector development plan will be a key priority for discussions at the upcoming G20 summit.
This comes as part of Riyadh’s plans to bolster its presence on the global tourism map.
Chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) Ahmad al-Khateeb gave a speech during the G20 tourism ministers meeting in Japan on Saturday.
He stressed that after assuming the G20 presidency in 2020, the Kingdom plans to place tourism among the main priorities in recognition of its significant contribution to the global economy, both socially and economically.
Khateeb also shared Saudi Arabia's strategy for developing its emerging tourism industry in line with Vision 2030 goals, which aim at building a thriving society and diversified economy that provide prosperity for all.
He affirmed his country’s commitment to enhancing the contribution of tourism to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
“As an emerging tourism destination, the Kingdom is excited to be opening its doors to the world.”
“We recognize the value of tourism not only as a driver of economic growth but also as an important cultural bridge that increases awareness, understanding and respect,” he noted, adding that the Kingdom is aware of the responsibilities this entails.
Over-development and uncontrolled planning can just as easily undermine the foundations of what makes a destination unique. For tourism to work for today and for tomorrow's generations it has to be sustainable, he said.
“Our strategy is to achieve growth in tourism from three percent to 10 percent of Saudi Arabia’s GDP and to increase the number of visitors from 18 million a year to 100 million by 2030.”
Saudi Arabia is carrying out a series of major preparations to host the upcoming G20 summit in Riyadh in addition to developmental changes in the tourism sector.
The SCTH established a SAR15 billion ($4 billion) capital fund that will develop the private sector and encourage tourism investment by providing financial facilitation for tourism-related projects.