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Sun 25 Sep 2016 05:36 PM

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Saudi Arabia seeks 8,000 tourist guides to grow sector

Vision 2030 earmarks tourism as one industry to help diversify economy

Saudi Arabia seeks 8,000 tourist guides to grow sector
A picture taken on April 30, 2016 shows tourists standing on a cliff at the Edge of the World site northwest of the Saudi capital Riyadh. (Ian GeoffreyTimberlake/AFP/Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia requires 8,000 new tourist guides by 2030 as it expands its tourism industry under plans to diversify the national economy, local media said.

Arab News attributed the estimated figure to Ahmed Al Jaid, a member of the Saudi Society for Tourist Guides (SSTG).

Al Jaid said there are currently 500 tourist guides in Saudi Arabia, however, 8,000 licensed guides, including mutawif (pilgrim) guides, are needed to help deliver the kingdom’s Vision 2030 economic diversification plans.

He also said the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (NCTNH) and the SSTG provide courses for those working in the tourism sector to improve their skills.

The government has highlighted tourism as one of the industries well placed to help boost the national economy and reduce the country’s dependence on oil revenues.

Meanwhile, Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the SCTNH, was quoted as saying: “The transformation in the tourism sector has become easier and more acceptable than before, and the reason for this is the existence of a real tourist sector and of an enormous market for tourism.

“We hope that tourism will be the leader of the new economy...as King Salman wants to develop tourism and the heritage sector.”

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