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Tourism sector to employ 462,000

The number of jobs in the tourism sector will be boosted to more than 462,000

By Abdul Hannan Tago / 2 Apr 2013

The number of jobs in the tourism sector will be boosted to more than 462,000, said Economy and Planning Minister of Saudi Arabia - Mohammed bin Suleiman Al-Jasser.

The plan focuses on increasing employment opportunities for Saudis in the tourism sector.

“In addition, training opportunities will be available for an additional 245,000 jobseekers,” said Al-Jasser.

Al-Jasser made his remarks at the opening of the sixth Saudi Travel and Tourism Investment Market (STTIM) that Riyadh Gov. Prince Khalid bin Bandar inaugurated yesterday at the International Exhibition and Conference.

He said that tourism development sought by Saudi Arabia should result in reducing spending on international tourism. Saudis spent SR 61 billion on tourism in 2011, of which SR 36 billion was on domestic tourism.

These expenses did not include international transportation costs. Total spending had increased from SR 28 billion in 2009.

The five-day hospitality event is aimed at highlighting the local tourism potential and the promising investment opportunities in the sector in view of its importance to the national economy.

Domestic tourism can provide employment opportunities for citizens in various regions of the country.

“Tourism spending takes a significant portion of the family budget of individuals in many countries of the world.

It has also become an important source of national income in many countries of the world, including the United States, Spain, Italy, Turkey, and countries with emerging economies, such as Malaysia, in addition to developing countries such as Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco,”said Al-Jasser.

The statistics of the World Tourism Organization (WTO) in 2012 indicate that the number of international tourism flights grew at 4 percent, to reach more than a billion tourist trips.

Emerging economies and the Asia-Pacific region account for the largest share of this growth, while tourism in the Middle East came to 53 million trips. This equals only 5 percent of the total tourist trips globally, equal to that of Africa. At 535 million trips, Europe accounted for 51 percent of the total number of trips in the world.

The 233 million tourist trips in Asia accounted for 23 percent of the total, which emphasizes the importance of developing and activating the policy of tourism development in the Arab states and Saudi Arabia in particular.

“Saudi Arabia has natural resources, a variety of heritage sites, multiple facilities and a good infrastructure that can contribute to the tourism sector. This would support our gross domestic product (GDP) and provide employment opportunities, as well as raise Saudization rates,”said Al-Jasser.

The development of tourism in Saudi Arabia would also support two main objectives in the government’s development plan: Economic diversification and a balanced development between regions.

“The amount of money citizens spend on tourism abroad underscores the need to improve local tourist attractions and make use of media to cover available tourist spots in Saudi Arabia.”

 

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