RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Prince Sultan Bin Salman, President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), has vowed to introduce sweeping changes to tourism festivals all over the Kingdom.
The prince made the remarks while announcing a comprehensive development program for the tourism sector between 2014-2018. The program seeks to meet citizens’ increasing demand on tourism activities that cater to the tastes of families, the youth and children.
A study conducted by the Tourism Information and Research Center on the satisfaction levels of visitors during tourism festivals held all over the Kingdom in the past five years has shown a high level of satisfaction (72 percent).
Now that the tourists’ tastes have been identified, the new program will work on developing these activities and incorporating various heritage events, said an SCTA statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency.
Prince Sultan said when the SCTA was established in 2000, there were only three festivals in the Kingdom. “In the next eight years, this number has jumped to 450.
That is to say, it has increased by 1,260 percent. These activities have undoubtedly contributed to creating 55,000 permanent and temporary job opportunities for Saudis while drawing 55 million visitors. Economically speaking, the tourism activities held between 2005 and 2012 have generated returns of SR17 billion. This amount represents the money visitors spent on tourist services,” said Prince Sultan.
The new program should introduce sweeping changes to current tourist festivals and activities held all over the Kingdom, he said.
Prince Sultan noted that citizens are welcome to voice their opinions about the new program via the commission’s website scta.gov.sa or social networking sites. “All suggestions and recommendations will be taken into consideration,” he said.