Tourism has become the second largest employer of Saudis, according to Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA).
The recent decisions taken by the Cabinet would have a big impact on boosting domestic tourism, he said, adding,“The delay in national tourism development has given us the opportunity to build partnerships, set out rules and regulations and implement a number of projects.”
Prince Sultan made this comment after laying the foundation for a new building of the College of Tourism and Hotel Management at King Saud University (KSU) in Riyadh yesterday.
“The new building will contribute greatly to the development of the college in terms of enhancing facilities for studies,” he said while commending the efforts being made by KSU authorities to develop the college.
He emphasized the important role being played by the tourism sector in boosting the national economy. “Higher education will have a big impact on this country,” Prince Sultan said while praising the government’s efforts to send Saudis for higher studies in reputable universities on King Abdullah Foreign Scholarship.
He praised the late Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz for taking the initiative to establish a college for tourism. He thanked Higher Education Minister Khaled Al-Anqari for his support to tourism colleges.
“This will be an exceptional year for SCTA. The government has realized the importance of tourism in strengthening the economy and creating jobs,” he said.
He expected a lot of Saudi youth would get employed in the tourism sector this year. He said that there is a plan to establish five colleges under the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation to train Saudis in tourism and hotel management.
The first college will be established in Riyadh in August. The second will be established in Madinah in December. In addition, two will be established in Taif and Al-Ahsa next year.
Dr. Badran Al-Amr, president of KSU, said the increasing desire among Saudis to join the tourism sector has doubled his college’s responsibilities. About 550 students will graduate from the college this year.
The KSU college has three departments, namely the department for tourism and department for hotel management, a department for antiquities and a department for the management of heritage resources and tourism guidance.
There are two more tourism colleges in Jeddah and Abha, in addition to tourism departments at the universities of Hail, Taif and Jazan. There is an institute of hospitality and hotel management that belongs to Al-Hokair Group, the tourism institute at King Abdulaziz University and an international academy for tourism and hotel management.