Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tourism sector to create 1.8m jobs by 2020

The tourism sector is set to create about 1.3 million jobs by 2015 and about 1.8 million by 2020, offering direct employment opportunities in its sub-sectors and indirect jobs in areas induced by tourism-related activity, according to the annual report of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) for 2012-13.
The 49th SAMA report released recently said: “The Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) evaluation has confirmed the tourism sector’s ability to provide a growing number of direct jobs in the tourism sub-sectors as well as indirect employment opportunities induced by tourism activity in other economic sectors linked to the tourism sector, in addition to job opportunities that could be developed in subsequent periods as a result of the economic spending cycle in all the sectors that are related to tourism development.”
The report said the tourism sector had created job opportunities for the citizens where, according to an SCTA estimate, the number of direct jobs in the tourism sector in 2012 amounted to about 709,000, an increase of 5.9 percent from the previous year with 670,000 jobs, distributed across the tourism sub-sectors.
“The percentage of Saudization in these jobs was about 26.7 percent compared to about 26.4 percent in the previous year,” an SCTA official said Saturday.
The SAMA report covers various areas of the domestic economy, including monetary developments, banking activity, capital market, prices, public finance, national accounts, foreign trade and balance of payments.
The report elaborated that the share of domestic tourism in the the country's GDP in 2012 increased by 6.8 percent compared to 2011 to reach SR70.2 billion as the percentage of the nonoil sector’s contribution to the GDP touched slightly higher with an “added-value” from 7.3 percent to 7.4 percent during 2012.
Although the report indicated a decrease of 8.2 percent on spending by domestic tourists “excluding expenses on international transport” in 2012 at SR32.6 billion compared to SR 35.5 billion in 2011, it however, showed that the volume of inbound tourism spending in 2012 rose by 16.8 percent to SR57.2 billion, compared to about SR49 billion in the previous year.
The report said that accommodation facilities ranked first for incoming tourists’ spending at SR19.7 billion, up by 34.5 percent in 2012, while shopping came second at about SR 15.5 billion representing 27 percent of the total expenditure for the same year.
The 49th SAMA report also refers to the SCTA’s efforts in the development of the hotel sector, as the number of hotels operating in the Kingdom by the end of 2012 reached 1,098 hotels of different grades, and the number of furnished residential units in the Kingdom by the end of 2012 reached about 1,971, distributed across various cities in the Kingdom.
“The biggest share of these are found in the Makkah province reaching 522 units (26.5 percent), followed by the Riyadh region, (26.3 percent) with 519 units,” the report added.
Commenting on the report, an SCTA official said that the commission is devoted to developing the tourism sector in the Kingdom and is working on a number of programs to boost tourism investment as the sector is considered a key tributary to the national economy and a creator of jobs for citizens.
He asserted that the Kingdom will focus on the “tourism development companies and work is under way for concluding the final procedures for the establishment of the Al-Ogair Development Company with a capital of SR2.71 billion. The destination is located in the Al-Ahsa Municipality and established as a joint-stock company by the public and private sectors.”
The sector will also establish the Saudi Company for Tourism Investment and Development as a Saudi holding Company with a capital of SR 200 million.
Furthermore, the commission has signed agreements with several public funds such as the Saudi Credit and Saving Bank, the Saudi Industrial Development Fund, Agricultural Development Fund, Centennial Fund and the Human Resource Development Fund to finance the tourism medium and small enterprises.
According to the official, the cooperation between SCTA and the Saudi Credit and Saving Bank and a number of other funds have resulted in the financing of a number of tourism and heritage projects worth over SR250 million.