- COVID-19 has killed tourism in many parts of the world since March 2020. The industry is crying out for money, help and leadership, and H.E. Ahmed Al Khateeb Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia responded in a big way.
- Traditionally known for a 12 billion a year religious tourism industry, Saudi Arabia developed the Red Sea Project and has been spending billions of Dollars in the development of tourism in the Kingdom, and now also for the relaunch of international tourism.
- As a tourism newcomer to the western world, with the money available to spend, Saudi Arabia managed to move from the new kid on the block to the leading force of global tourism before anyone even realized it. The world is knocking on Saudi Arabia’s door, and such guests are let in and treated well. This is the Arabian way.
HE Ahmed Al-Khateeb, minister of tourism for the kingdom of Saudi Arabia occupied the post of president of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority between May 2016 and June 2018. Prior he served as the Minister of Health. He has also worked as an advisor at the Saudi Royal Court.
It started with The Red Sea Project that was created as a unique, luxury tourism destination that will embrace nature, culture, and adventure, setting new standards in sustainable development and positioning Saudi Arabia on the global tourism map. Saudi Arabia invests heavily in building state-of-the-art tourism infrastructure.
Only in September 2019, Saudi Arabia started issuing tourist visas to citizens of western countries. Within the first 10 days, Saudi Arabia announced that 24,000 visitors arrived in the Kingdom for the first time.
It was the first time traditional tourism became a reality for a country that had been closed to the world, except for religious tourism. The revenue for religious tourism in 2019 was $12 billion.
Saudi Arabia is not only a key player in the region, it plays an important role in stabilizing the global economy. The Kingdom’s Vision 2030 closely aligns with the core G20 objectives of macroeconomic stability, sustainable development, empowerment of women, enhanced human capital, and increased flow of trade and investment. A Tourism Development Fund worth billions of dollars, which was approved by Saudi Arabia’s Council of Ministers, collaborates with private and investment banks to support private-sector developments and incentivize further investment across the industry.
Most of the world is struggling to keep tourism in business, while Saudi Arabia is investing billions to position the Kingdom as a global center in this sector. Hiring the most powerful woman in tourism, the WTTC CEO Gloria Guevara as an advisor to the minister shows the country is serious, and intentions are clear.
Jamaica and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have initiated discussions aimed at facilitating cooperation and investment in tourism and other key areas, following a series of meetings between Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett.
It appears when calling on Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom responds with friendship, money, and global brand names ready to assist or brainstorm.
Tourism and opportunities are enormous in and for Saudi Arabia. WTN Board member Raed Habbis from Baseera Conferences and Exhibition introduced a panel of high-level tourism leaders in Saudi Arabia, but the best is yet to come.
The demand for tourism in the kingdom for western tourists is there. Visitors are ready to explore the history of the region and experience first-hand the fabled hospitality and fascinating culture of Saudi Arabia.
Listen to the discussion from December 2029