By Parag Deulgaonkar
Kingdom to focus on building family destinations, rehabilitate historic sites
Saudi Arabia has allocated $2.67 billion (SR9.9 bn) this year to develop and rebuild tourism projects in the country, Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage (SCTH) said on Sunday.
The government entity, in a statement on its website, said six new initiatives that have been approved under the “National Transformation Program 2020”.
Mohamed Al Nashmi, head of the achievements of kingdom’s Vision 2030 in SCTH, said they are revisiting their tourism strategy and attune it to the Vision 2030 goals.
According to SCTH, it will receive 40 percent of the SR9.93bn government funds, while the remaining 60 percent will be distributed amongst its government partners. The commission estimates total private sector investment to touch SR16 billion, representing 64 percent of total expenditures until 2020.
Prime among the initiatives is development of integrated tourism destinations for families in Al Ula, Fursan Islands, and Al Raas Al Abyad Shore; development of Okaz City in Taif region’ rehabilitation of 80 archaeological sites of which three sites will be listed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List, and facilitate 122,000 student tours by 2020 under the “Live Saudi Arabia” programme.
The Saudi Vision 2030 development plan, released last year, aims to increase the revenue generated from tourism to 18 percent in the next 14 years, as the country targets 1.5 million tourists by 2020.