Saudi Arabia is ready to take its place in on the international tourism stage delegates at ATM Virtual have heard.
Majed al-Ghanim, managing director of tourism at the ministry of investment, said the Saudi government understood the value of the sector and was working hard to develop it.
“We believe we have the platform for investors to come to Saudi Arabia, as well as a diverse destination on offer here.
“Saudi has a compelling, attractive tourism market from this perspective – with the new cultural, adventure and sun destinations on offer.
“We have what it takes, as well as the governmental support and stimulus packages, to position us as a destination that is ready for visitors to arrive.”
Asked by moderator Rajan Datar where the destination would seek to position itself, al-Ghanim said Saudi saw itself as complimentary to rivals within the region.
He added: “We are looking at Dubai, and the United Arab Emirates in general, which is a great destination, but so are Oman, Bahrain and all our other neighbours.
“We are looking at complimenting them.
“But the hospitality market is competitive, and we would like to see investment coming to Saudi Arabia.”
Saudi is currently developing Vision 2030, a programme of reforms designed to diversify the economy away from a reliance on oil.
As part of the work, the destination is working on a series of ‘giga’ projects – large-scale hospitality environments unlike those seen anywhere else in the world.
A new visa regime has also been introduced in order to allow international guests easier access to the country.
al-Ghanim added domestic tourism would be a key component of the sector moving forward.
He explained: “One of the main aspects of the tourism strategy is to capture the money that is currently spent out of Saudi Arabia.
“To facilitate this increase, we will invest in domestic tourism – we are working extremely hard to bring that money back to Saudi Arabia.”
With a consensus emerging that domestic tourism will be the first to recover in the post Covid-19 world, the domestic market is poised for rapid growth, he explained.