750,000 tourism jobs created

4113The Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) has created permanent jobs for 750,000 employees and increased the worth of the industry to SR72 billion, said Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the organization, here recently.

Prince Sultan quoted the statistics in response to a person who hacked his Twitter account and asked 11 questions about the performance of the SCTA.

“We don’t pretend we are perfect, and we have nothing to hide. Constructive criticism ensures success and development. We abide by the directives of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and are prepared to answer all queries, regardless of their origin,” said Prince Sultan in response to the hacker.

The SCTA later said that it organizes 250 events, and have created 750,000 jobs as at the end of 2013. It has also added new events to the tourism calendar such as car and motorcycle racing.

The SCTA said that 40,000 people attend its Saudi Alwan Forum. It has several events showcasing 1,700 exhibits, a 40 percent increase from last year. It has helped to develop more than 200 tourist locations, ports and spas in various parts of the Kingdom, and formed a team to set up mountain climbing and paragliding activities.

Through its Bare’ program, it has provided opportunities for young people to learn more about artifacts. It has organized more than 50 trips for young men included diving and a sand dune skiing program.

The SCTA stated that it has created over 1 million jobs for young men. Saudization in the industry has risen from 10 percent in 2000 to 27 percent, thanks to the programs run by the National Project for Tourism Human Resource Development or Takamul.

A total of 33,819 benefited from the SCTA’s vocational programs, with 76,000 employed at the end of their training. Women now make up 46 percent of the SCTA’s labor force internationally.

The SCTA would soon implement the Live Saudi Arabia program, which would benefit 1 million students over the next three years.

A total of 130 companies and establishments helped to train 1,500 young people, who are now managing more than 250 establishments specializing in events.

The total value of domestic tourism spending in 2006 was SR52.2 billion, which rose to SR72 billion in 2013.

The SCTA said it has not yet been able to get all the funding it needs to develop the industry, but hopes this situation would be resolved soon. It plans to develop the National Government Tourism Development Company, and the Traditional Hotel Company to upgrade facilities.

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