Saudi Arabia approves billions for tourism

The National Transformation Program has approved SR26bn for tourism initiatives

It has been announced that The National Transformation Program has approved thirteen tourism initiatives. These initiatives support the agenda of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage and cost more than SR26 billion.

The initiatives include programs that represent and support the national strategy for the development of tourism and heritage. There are also extensions of previous efforts and programs of the commission.

Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the commission, said “the leader of the National Transformation Program is keen on improving the tourism and national heritage sector and will pay close attention to national heritage sites as a pillar of the Kingdom’s national identity and culture”.

The National Transformation Program supports and builds on several initiatives, such as the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Program for the Care of National Heritage and Culture, and allocates funding to develop national heritage and culture sites and programs. These include seventeen handicrafts centers, eighteen heritage sites, eighteen museums, over eighty historical sites and six new UNESCO heritage sites.

There will be additional support and funding to go to the development of museums and exhibitions that were previously approved but were awaiting funding. There will also be funding for the development of tourist sites such as Jazr Forsan, Souk Okaz city in Taif, Al-Ula and Al-Ra’as Al-Abyadh in Madinah.

There are some other initiatives included in the programs, for lending to hotel, tourism and heritage projects. This is in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance, to the tune of SR3 billion over five years. Interest-free loans will be provided to investors working in tourism projects. A tourism marketing council will be founded with private sector participation. This council will manage and develop a range of tourism products, activities and marketing tools to support the sector, including exhibitions and conferences. Funding will be provided through tourism fees collected from clients by hotels.

A Saudi holding company for development and tourism investment will oversee the establishment of special entities to develop and attract further investment for the sector. Other initiatives include post-Umrah trips to heritage and Islamic sites.