Saudi Arabia Opens its Doors to Tourists by End of 2019



Saudi Arabia Opens its Doors to Tourists by End of 2019

Thursday, 12 September, 2019 – 08:45
Visitors walk outside the tombs at the Madain Saleh antiquities site, al-Ula, Saudi Arabia February 10, 2019. Picture taken February 10, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Kalin
Saint Petersburg – Asharq Al-Awsat
Saudi Arabia will open its doors to tourists from around the world by the end of 2019, the head of the Saudi Tourism and Heritage Authority, Ahmad al-Khatib, said on Wednesday.

Khatib made the announcement during his speech at the meeting of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), which is held in the Russian city of St. Petersburg on September 9-13.

The Organization’s secretary-general, Zurab Pololikashvili, praised the ambitious plan led by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz to place the Kingdom at the forefront of global tourism destinations.

In March, UNWTO’s general assembly approved Saudi Arabia’s membership in the executive council of the Organization for the Middle East region for the third time in a row. The Kingdom has retained its seats in the Tourism Statistics Committee and the Program and Budget Committee, and also joined the Executive Committee’s Membership Review Committee.

Saudi Arabia has provided some USD1.7 million to fund cooperation with the international organization, according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

“Saudi Arabia is proud to be one of the first countries to work with the organization in the preliminary studies for the Measuring Sustainable Tourism (MST) project,” Khatib said in his speech.

The head of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Heritage also announced ongoing cooperation with UNWTO for the preparation of a strategy for the development of human capital in tourism, and the establishment of a tourism academy.

He noted that his country has invited the Executive Council to meet in Saudi Arabia in 2020.

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