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Saudi to invest $100m in tourism training

Creative Commons
Saudi aims to create a million new tourism-related jobs by 2030
  • Kingdom looks to attract over 70 million visitors by the end of 2022

Saudi Arabia is planning to invest $100 million training around 100,000 young Saudis to work in the tourism sector, as the kingdom looks to attract over 70 million visitors per year.

The Ministry of Tourism on Tuesday launched the Tourism Pioneers programme, which the Saudi Press Agency claimed was the “largest global programme” of its kind.

Launched on the sidelines of the 116th session of the Executive Council of the World Tourism Organisation (WTO) in Jeddah, the programme aims to train and develop the next generation of Saudi tourism professionals by partnering with academic institutions around the world.

“We must invest in our youth today and create a skilled and ambitious workforce to support the tourism sector at the regional and global levels, as this plays a major role in achieving the kingdom’s Vision 2030,” Minister of Tourism, Ahmed bin Aqeel Al-Khateeb, said.

“This programme demonstrates our commitment to empowering young people by providing them with the necessary skills and support, and opportunities to pave the way for the future of the tourism sector.”

Part of the ministry’s goal to create a million new tourism-related jobs by 2030, Al-Khateeb said the government was investing $100 million in the Tourism Pioneers programme.

Saudi youth are increasingly showing an interest in careers in tourism, over traditional roles in the petrochemicals and oil and gas sectors, according to a study by The Red Sea Development Company.

The study of 850 young Saudi nationals found that 90 percent of respondents said they would be interested in a career in travel and tourism, compared to 77 percent who would like to work in the energy sector.

The latest investment comes as the kingdom looks to exceed its goal to attract 70 million visitors by the end of 2022.

“I think our record-high domestic travel was last year,” Saudi Tourism Authority CEO Fahd Hamidaddin was quoted as saying by Reuters at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai in May.

“And on general recovery of total travel, we outperformed the globe, we outperformed the region in terms of recovery – we reached 72 percent of pre-pandemic levels.

“I’ll say this for the first time we are witnessing over 130 percent versus pre-pandemic levels.”