The first Minister of Tourism for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is HE Ahmed Al Khateeb.
The Ministry of Tourism was established in Saudi Arabia only on February 25, 2020, after transforming the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage into an independent ministry.
This tourism minister was able to position Saudi Arabia from a mostly unknown and new travel and tourism destination into the center of global tourism.
Formed at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, the Ministry of Tourism of Saudi Arabia always worked within an unchartered territory.
While most countries and long-established tourism ministers in the world were struggling to keep tourism relevant, Saudi Arabia made history by bringing the world together. Saudi Arabia is setting one new trend after another, also by inviting the private sector to play an important part in the political process.
Saudi Arabia was able to take leadership when others dealt with frustration. With billions in cash ready to spend for its own tourism launch, more billions were made available for the global good of tourism.
From a first unknown figure, HE Hon. Ahmed Al Khateeb emerged as the most popular and go-to tourism minister in the world. Together with other global leaders including the Hon. Edmund Bartlett from Jamaica, and Secretary Najib Balala from Kenya, Saudi Arabia led many nations in a common approach by sailing through the crisis.
A tourism revolution Bob Marley style may have done the magic. A new era of a tourism opportunity just started in Jamaica in June 2021 when the Minister of Tourism for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia HE Ahmed Al Khateeb was seen with his host, the Minister of Tourism for Jamaica, HE Edmund Bartlett. Both ministers were wearing baseball hats indicating a “Revolution.”
“We are making history today!” This was the report of a shining star in the travel and tourism industry that eTurboNews published on October 6 last year.
UNWTO countries needed rescue, and Saudi Arabia responded to the emergency call with billions. The most powerful woman in tourism, the former WTTC CEO, Gloria Guevara, was hired as one of the top advisors to Minister Ahmed Al Khateeb, along with other top brand advisors.
Just earlier this week in Manila at the delayed 2021 Summit, WTTC announced the location for its 2022 summit: Saudi Arabia.
The world is ready to sail out of COVID restrictions. The next summit for the World Travel and Tourism Council in Riyadh, the capital of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is from November 29 to December 2 this year, and it will without a doubt be the biggest and most glamorous one.
With Minister Ahmed Al Khateeb putting up his resources and reputation for the summit, there is no doubt the world will experience a breakthrough in a world shifting towards a positive travel and tourism industry under Saudi influence.
In the meantime, Saudi Arabia is opening up its floodgates for visitors. The world of travelers is getting ready to experience the culture, the beaches, and the people of the Saudi Kingdom.
90% of Saudis are fully vaccinated, and entry requirements are relaxed for visitors.
Who is this super-minister?
His Excellency Mr. Ahmed Al Khateeb is the Minister of Tourism for Saudi Arabia. He has over 25 years of experience in investment and financial services, during which he established, managed, and restructured a number of governmental agencies and companies. He is known for his ability to lead institutional transformation and achieve future visions efficiently and effectively.
- HE Ahmed Al Khateeb has a BA in Business Administration from King Saud University
- Diploma in Wealth Management from Dalhousie University in Canada
The minister needs to rely on an excellent and reliable team for his work. His responsibilities definitely exceed what one person could handle.
HE Ahmed Al Khateeb’s current positions include:
- Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Tourism Authority
- Chairman of Board of Directors of the Tourism Development Fund
- Minister of Tourism
- Chairman of the Committee of Quality of Life Program
- The Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Saudi Fund for Development
- The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI)
- Secretary General and Member of the Board of Directors or Diriyah Gate Development Authority
- Secretary General and Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors of New Jeddah Downtown
HE Ahmed Al Khateeb is also a member of the following:
- Member of the Board of Directors of the Public Investment Fund.
- Member of the Board of Directors of the General Organization for Military Industries.
- Member of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs.
- Member of the Board of Directors of Neom Company.
- Member of the Board of Directors of The Red Sea Development Company.
- Member of the Board of Directors of The National Development Fund.
HE Ahmed Al Khateeb previous positions:
- Minister of Health.
- Advisor to HRH the Crown Prince at the Royal Court.
- Founder of Jadwa Investment Company.
- Founder of the Customer Investment Department- Riyadh Bank.
- Founder of the Islamic Banking (Amanah) – SABB Bank.
- General Manager of Private Services – SABB Bank.
- Adviser to the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers.
One man with a vision for the world of tourism
The world of tourism has been looking to Saudi Arabia, and thanks to just one man and his ambition, tourism remains in a positive space ready to emerge out of the biggest crisis the world has been facing.
The wild card, however, remains the war in Ukraine. As a new and mostly undisputed global leader in world tourism, how can Saudi Arabia help to minimize the impact on tourism with Russia threatening the world? This will be the billion-euro question.
Of course money talks, and big money will make it happen, but Saudi Arabia also emerged as a coach in a team of international players at times when the world needed tourism to stay relevant. If there was a true tourism hero, HE Ahmed Al Khateeb should add this to his award achievements.
The World Tourism Network is ready to recognize this type of leadership as a tourism hero and award it to His Excellency. The Hero Award is always free, even for the Minister of Tourism for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.