Saudi attention to national tourism reflects remarkable growth


HRH Prince Sultan Bin Salman Bin Abdul Aziz, President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), pointed out that the government’s attention towards national tourism has resulted in transforming it into an economically productive sector, as well as a sector that creates jobs and contributes to the emergence of several private corporations, which are engaged in the tourism sector and are largely adopting the initiatives of corporate social responsibility.

HRH President of SCTA was addressing the key session of the Arab Forum on corporate social responsibility in the capital on Monday, April 16, 2012, (its second gathering) under the theme “Social Responsibility in the Tourism Sector.”

The forum is being organized by the Riyadh Social Responsibility Council in cooperation with the Arab Administrative Development Organization (ARADO).

HRH President of SCTA, who had chaired the session, further said: “Tourism activity has great returns on the economy, because it opens the way for the private sector to invest in tourism projects, including hospitality, services, and recreational areas. It also generates fair revenues in terms of keeping citizens’ money within the country, as well as creating job opportunities for a greater number of citizens, male and female.”

Undoubtedly, a general observer of domestic tourism in the kingdom during the past few years will see a remarkable growth in tourism activity, as well the concept of cultural enrooting of this vital sector among the people as a productive and influential sector, both socially and economically.

Not long ago, tourism was a marginal activity, and out of the spotlight, however, there has been a dramatic shift in the light of international attention to the tourism industry due to its importance socially and economically through its role as a vital source of national income.

Tourism is no longer a random living activity responding to natural, geographical, and environmental potentials, or may be seen as following the shopping and entertainment trends. Rather, at the present time, it represents a key hub that enjoys the attention of governments everywhere.

Consequently, national tourism has received the necessary support and encouragement from the Government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, where the efforts of both the government officials and citizens have united to raise the tourism sector, as well as invested in the resources and potentials of domestic tourism. This undoubtedly, later will have a major role in achieving quick quantum leaps in the development of tourism services and facilities that will lead to increased demand for domestic tourism.

In light of the increasing role of the private sector in overall development in general, and tourism development in particular, corporate social responsibility has become one of the important principles in national development, which requires a close partnership between the private sector and public sector.

There is no doubt that the private sector in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia did not hesitate to respond to the call, which had vowed to develop an active domestic tourism industry to meet the general demand of tourism in the kingdom, as well as, to meet a general desire to find a suitable tourism environment in an effort to convince many social categories to keep their tourism options within the kingdom.

Thus, the tourism sector has witnessed a large national investment that puts it on the right path, promising a brighter future at different levels, especially in the economic returns, which will prompt further steps forward.

The correct understanding of “social responsibility” is ingrained in the private organizations in the kingdom that work in the tourism sector in dealing with the various parties in society, whether they be employees, customers, suppliers, or the community itself and its environment.

Also, corporate should run its business in a manner that does not confine it to profit margin alone, rather it should have a clear and positive social impact on the society, in the middle of which it runs its business. The corporate should also have values and principles from which it derives its strategies and plans while dealing with the society.

No doubt, the application of the corporate social responsibility index on Saudi firms will push companies to adopt best practices that can contribute to the enrichment of human and social values, which in turn will lead to strengthening the competitiveness of enterprises operating in the tourism sector.

Noteworthy, HRH President of SCTA, upon arrival at the venue, took a tour of the accompanied exhibition of the Forum of Social Responsibility, during which he listened to a detailed explanation of social responsibility adopted by a large number of companies in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

At the end of the ceremony, HRH President of SCTA received a commemorative gift from HE Abdullah Al Mogrin, Chairman of the Riyadh Social Responsibility Council in the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry.