His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism & Antiquities (SCTA), pointed out while delivering a speech at the 4th session of T-20 Ministers of Tourism meeting in Mexico that tourism is one of the most important factors for economic development and the fastest-growing sector in the world.
HRH President of SCTA made his remarks during his participation in the 2nd session of the Travel and Tourism Council of North America. HRH President of SCTA further stated that tourism has become the fastest-growing sector in terms of job creation, and has become a major factor for the development of the world economy. HRH President of SCTA, during the meeting, also referred to the role of tourism in the social and economic development in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through its focusing on the citizen as the major and strategic target of the tourism development process, explaining that over the last eight years, the key task of SCTA, since its inception, was to create appropriate jobs to youth in the Kingdom.
In addition, Prince Sultan commented on the effects of the world’s economy on tourism and asserted, “The current situation of global economy requires the G-20 ministers of tourism to set up serious and quick steps, according to a specific timetable, to mitigate its impact on the tourism sector. This has to emerge through the enactment of investment stimulant legislations, offering feasible opportunities, providing appropriate channels for the marketing of such opportunities, innovating new tourism products and packages, in addition to investing in the specialized manpower in the field of tourism.”
“The current economic situation witnessed by the world requires from all of us to agree to set up serious steps to mitigate its impact on the economies of our countries and its direct impact on the tourism through offering series of feasible investment opportunities in this important sector, providing right channels for the marketing of such opportunities, promoting private sector investment through the enactment of required legislations, as well as offering governmental incentives, cooperating with relevant and specialized direct international unions and organizations, such as UNWTO [UN World Tourism Organization] and, indirectly through, such as [the] International Labor Organization (ILO), in order to contribute in finding the radical solutions to obstacles in the sector,” the Prince cautioned.
HRH President of SCTA, in his speech, further stated: “This meeting is held amid a critical political situation that a number of countries are passing through, which has led to crucial and clear changes and created unprecedented political situations that will have a significant impact on various economic sectors and especially the tourism sector.”
“In order to avoid another global economic recession, Group of 20 are required make concrete efforts and agree on a set of measures to restore the economic normalcy, as well as adopt comprehensive economic development steps as a means of reforms for the global financial and economic sustainability and political stability,” the President of SCTA added.
Pointing out that tourism has become a permanent issue in the G-20 agenda, the SCTA President further stated: “I think we have yet to do much to highlight the importance of tourism in the international economy. I would like here to mention at least two of the great industrialized nations, Italy and Germany, who are talking about tourism as a key factor for economic recovery for these two important nations in Europe, which clearly underlines the importance of tourism as a key factor for the economic development in the world. I believe that we can do a lot for tourism in the world through highlighting factors shown in the presentations in today’s session, stressing that tourism has become one of the fastest-growing economy sectors, creating jobs, which is the core factor of tourism, in addition to its collateral importance in the global economy.”
HRH President of SCTA, added, “Saudi Arabia is witnessing major expansions in the various fields of economy and development, which enabled it to contribute effectively to the global economy.”
“The contribution of tourism to the gross domestic product (GDP) in the Kingdom in 2011, has exceeded 7.2 percent, which contributed significantly to the recruitment of a greater number of Saudi citizens, and the percentage of employment of Saudis in the sector has reached 26 percent of the total workforce in the tourism sector in 2011, and they occupy 670,000 direct jobs, which is considered as the second highest rate of employment in the national economic sectors. Tourism also employed 9.1 p0ercent of the total workforce in the private sector across the kingdom,” HRH said.
Noteworthy, the 4th session T-20 Ministers of Tourism meeting of G-20 economies, has started its events in Merida, Mexico, on Tuesday, May 15, in the presence of the chairperson of the current session, Gloria Guevara Manzo, Minister of Tourism in Mexico, in addition to Dr. Taleb Rifai, the current Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, and the ministers of tourism of G-20 countries.