He stressed the importance of reconsidering the arrangement of joint tourism work mechanisms among member states, especially in the wake of the negative effects of the Corona pandemic, which had a severe impact on the tourism sector not only in the region, but also globally.
In his speech during the meeting held today (Thursday) remotely headed by the Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and Small and Medium Enterprises in the United Arab Emirates, Dr. Ahmed bin Abdullah Belhoul Al Falasi, he explained that the Kingdom made remarkable efforts during the Corona pandemic to protect the sector at the local level, as the government provided support And in order to stimulate establishments, as well as support workers in the private sector, including the tourism sector, provide free health care to all those infected with Coronavirus or those suspected of being infected, and provide half a million riyals in compensation to the family of every missing health cadre due to the pandemic.
Al-Khatib said: “The establishment of the Ministry of Tourism in the Kingdom came to be interested in legislation, the Saudi Tourism Authority to be interested in marketing the Kingdom around the world, and the Tourism Development Fund to provide financing for establishments that operate in the field of tourism, in addition to the Tourism Development Board that brings together the relevant authorities to facilitate the process of building and developing the tourism sector ».
The Minister of Tourism added: I recently launched a human capital development strategy that includes 15 training and education programs for new competencies which, as well as to train current competencies on the job. We also had a local initiative in the Kingdom to revitalize the tourism sector, as the “Saudi Summer Season” was launched, which attracted citizens and residents in The Kingdom to rebuild consumer confidence in order to resume domestic tourism, and based on this success, we are in the process of launching the “Saudi Winter Festival”, which we look forward to welcoming brothers in the Gulf countries.
Al-Khatib revealed that the Ministry of Tourism has entered into serious partnerships with international and local bodies, including the World Tourism Organization, which has opened its first regional office in the world in Riyadh, as it will support the Gulf countries and the rest of the region to transfer expertise in terms of developing tourism work, enriching statistics and benefiting from the best global experiences. In a way that serves tourism in the region.
Al-Khatib indicated that the tourism ministers of the G20 in the year of the Kingdom’s presidency held several meetings to face the repercussions of the Corona pandemic, as the Kingdom presented several initiatives to contribute to the recovery of the tourism sector.
He said, “The Diriyah statement presented many proposals and ideas related to easy and safe travel, sustainable tourism, restoring lost jobs and striving to resume the recovery of the private sector.”
Al-Khatib emphasized that the Gulf Cooperation Council countries made gains in the tourism sector during the year 2019, as the sector contributes to the GDP by up to 9.7%, and provides about 3 million jobs, and the revenue generated is estimated at more than $ 90 billion, according to the statistics of the World Tourism Council. And travel, and here is clear the gains achieved from the tourism sector and the importance of preserving them.
The Minister of Tourism noted the meeting and the importance of producing results that serve the tourism sector in the countries of the region in such a difficult global circumstance.
He said, “In the Kingdom, we recommend setting up a Gulf strategy for tourism in the region to the hoped-for future of tourism, provided that work will be done with the member states of the Council and the Secretariat to prepare the strategy and the associated operational action plan according to a timetable for completion, to become a road map for joint action in the tourism field among the GCC countries.” .
The meeting discussed many topics, including the comprehensive vision of joint tourism work, and the importance of arranging priorities according to current circumstances. And work to develop a vision for joint action between the tourism and cultural sectors in the GCC countries.
The selection of Ras Al Khaimah as the capital of Gulf tourism for the next year 2021 has been approved, provided that this will be accompanied by an exhibition of crafts and handicrafts in the Gulf tourist capital.