Saudi Arabia unveils ‘Hospitality Investment Enablers’ for tourism growth 

Saudi Arabia unveils ‘Hospitality Investment Enablers’ for tourism growth 
Saudi Arabia unveils ‘Hospitality Investment Enablers’ for tourism growth 

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: A new hospitality package is poised to enhance Saudi Arabia’s business operations, project viability, and land access, a senior official announced. 

The “Hospitality Investment Enablers” initiative, designed in collaboration with the Ministry of Investment, aims to elevate the efficiency of business operations and bolster project success, said Ahmed Al-Khateeb, the minister of tourism. 

He made the announcement during the opening remarks of the “100 Million Welcomes Celebration” held in Riyadh, highlighting the significance of the project. 

Al-Khateeb said: “These strategic enablers are designed to enhance business operations and project viability, facilitating access to government-owned land under favorable terms, streamlining project development processes, and minimizing barriers to market entry.”  

He added: “We have streamlined the investor journey to ensure a seamless experience. As part of these initiatives, we will be launching the Tourism Investment One Stop Shop later this year, in collaboration with our esteemed partners at the Saudi Business Center. Investors can get everything they need to do business in tourism, all from one place.” 

The total number of tourists in the Kingdom from home and abroad reached 106.2 million in 2023, reflecting an increase of 56 percent compared to 2019, and an increase of 12 percent on the 2022 figures. 

Al-Khateeb also highlighted the significant economic impact of tourism in the Kingdom, noting that tourists spent over SR250 billion ($66 billion) in 2023, contributing 4 percent to the gross domestic product. 

The minister emphasized the positive impact of tourism on local communities, promoting cultural exchange and showcasing Saudi hospitality. 

“I am delighted to announce the launch of the Saudi Tourism Excellence Award, aimed at recognizing the invaluable contributions of our local tourism and hospitality industry professionals, fostering innovation, and consistently elevating industry standards,” Al-Khateeb said. 

He added that in 2023, there had been a 390 percent increase in demand for tourism activity licenses. “But our journey does not end here. We are thriving, and Saudi tourism will continue ascending to even wider horizons.” 

Additionally, he further underlined the ongoing accomplishments in Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector, including giga projects like NEOM, Red Sea Project, AMAALA, AlUla, and Qiddiya, emphasizing the potential impact of these projects when fully operational. 

“This is why we are introducing the Tourism Investment Enabler Program to make doing business in the Saudi tourism sector easier and more cost-effective and enhancing our competitiveness,” Al-Khateeb explained. 

He continued: “Tourism license fees have been restructured to better fit the specific needs and operations of each investor … thanks to collaboration with government partners, we have reduced annual government fees by nearly 22 percent.” 

Furthermore, the minister recognized the collaborative efforts of various stakeholders, including government partners, global organizations like UN Tourism and the World Travel and Tourism Council, the private sector, and investors, in achieving remarkable success in the tourism sector.

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