By Neil Denslow
The Saudi Arabian government has suspended its recent drive to enforce Saudisation in the Kingdom’s travel agencies.
The Saudi Arabian government has suspended its recent drive to enforce Saudisation in the Kingdom’s travel agencies. The campaign, which saw a number of offices raided over the last fortnight and the imprisonment of non-national staff, created chaos within the Saudi travel sector. Instead, the industry has now been given a period of grace to cut foreign staff numbers and Saudise jobs.
“Instructions are being sent by the Ministry of Interior to different governorates to stop the raids. This has been made possible due to the efforts of Prince Sultan ibn Salman, chief of the Supreme Commission for Tourism (SCT) which is now the licensing and regulatory authority for travel agencies in the Kingdom,” Dr. Nasser Aqeel Abdullah Al-Tayyar, chairman of Al-Tayyar Travel Group told Arab News.
According to sources cited by Arab News, the Saudisation drive cost the Kingdom’s travel industry SR100 million. The drive saw a number of Saudi travel agencies raided, especially in Riyadh, and the detention of non-nationals working in front office roles. Travel agencies were subsequently forced to close down or leave inexperienced nationals in charge of the office.
What the travel industry has agreed to do in return for the end of the raids and the ‘period of grace’ is unclear at present. "The details are being worked out,” commented Dr. Nasser. “The authorities and travel agencies need to sit together to map things out. There will be certain areas which will be 100% Saudised; whereas some jobs will be partially Saudised within a certain timeframe. We have nearly three years to implement the proposed plan."