RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – The Council of Ministers approved on Monday the tourism law that gives more powers to the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) in managing the Kingdom’s public tourism spots and ensuring the best possible services to customers at affordable rates.
The new tourism regulations were endorsed by the Cabinet, chaired by Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdul Aziz, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense, at Al-Yamama Palace in Riyadh.
Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Abdulaziz Khoja said in a statement to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) following the session that the Cabinet entrusted SCTA to advertise through its website and other media outlets the prices to be fixed by the licensed tourism operators for tourist accommodation facilities as well as for various tourist activities and services.
The Cabinet took the decision after reviewing the Shoura Council resolution and recommendations of the Standing Committee of the Supreme Economic Council in this regard.
Dr. Khoja said the new law aims at managing tourism facilities and services. According to the law, SCTA will propose which tourist spots are to be identified as the public tourist places in coordination with the relevant authorities.
SCTA will also work out the executive regulations of the law so as to govern tourist activities.
Public tourist places are protected by the new law, and it is not allowed for any private party to own them. The State will use them or make investments in them directly or lease them to the private sector through a public bidding.
Under the law, SCTA will monitor the list of prices for tourist residential units as well as for their activities and services. Similarly, the law entrusts SCTA staff with the right to control and inspect tourist accommodation facilities. They also have the right to receive complaints from consumers.
At the outset of the session, Dr. Khoja said, Crown Prince Salman thanked all those who participated in making this year’s Haj operation an overwhelming success. He also appreciated cooperation extended by Muslim countries, as well as Saudis and expatriates to the new arrangements made for Haj by reducing the number of pilgrims due to expansion projects at the Grand Mosque and the holy sites.
Dr. Khoja said the Cabinet emphasized the significance of reforming the United Nations Security Council so as to enable it to effectively carry out its duties and responsibilities with regard to maintaining international peace and security.
The Cabinet renewed the Kingdom’s demand to the Security Council to abide by its historical, humanitarian and moral responsibilities so that the world does not lose its hope in maintaining peace, as well as its confidence in the ability of global institutions for continuing their collective work. While reiterating the commitment to work for protecting and promoting human rights, the Cabinet stressed that the Kingdom would reject politicization of human rights and adoption of double standards.
The Cabinet named seven members to the Council of Cooperative Health Insurance and renewed the membership of three others, and appointed two members to the Board of Directors of the Saudi Food and Drug Authority. All these appointments were for a period of three years.