Saudi Arabia unlocks multibillion-dollar investment as part of wider drive to become global tourism powerhouse

Saudi Arabia unlocks multibillion-dollar investment as part of wider drive to become global tourism powerhouse

  • KSA unlocks SAR 42 billion (11 billion dollars) in a new investment for the hospitality sector
  • The Hospitality Investment Enablers initiative aims to create 120,000 new jobs

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, March 5, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Tourism, His Excellency Ahmed Al-Khatib, has unveiled a program that will significantly boost the country’s fast-growing tourism sector.

The ambitious Tourism Investment Assistance Program (TIEP) aims to make it easier and more cost-effective to do business in Saudi tourism for international and local investors to prosper in one of the most competitive tourism investment environments in the world with multiple initiatives.

The flagship Hospitality Investment Enablers, part of the wider TIEP, was designed by the Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with the Ministry of Investment. This initiative will facilitate and increase the supply of accommodation capacity in targeted tourist destinations, enhancing the diversity of the Kingdom’s offer and marking a key move towards a position Saudi Arabia as a leading global tourist destination.

This comprehensive initiative will aim to catalyze private investment in key tourism sites in the Kingdom with up to SAR 42 billion (11 billion dollars) and drive the projected annual increase in GDP from SAR 16 billion (4 billion dollars) by 2030.

The flagship initiative includes a set of strategic tools designed to improve business operations and project viability. Key factors include facilitating access to state-owned land at favorable terms, streamlining project development processes and reducing barriers to market entry. Multiple regulatory adjustments are part of efforts to reduce operating costs and promote industry growth.

A notable aspect of the initiative is its focus on benefiting local communities in tourist destinations. By localizing services such as contracting, design and consulting, the program aims to create a direct positive impact on various sectors. This approach, combined with over 800 billion dollars invested to transform the tourism landscape, emphasizes of Saudi Arabia a commitment to improving industry standards and providing profitable opportunities for investors.

Saudi Arabia expects the initiative to significantly impact the socio-economic landscape, creating 42,000 new room keys and approximately 120,000 job opportunities, promoting talent development and supporting Saudization efforts.

The broader TIEP includes regulatory reforms to tourism licensing for the many types and scales of operations already available to better meet the specific needs of investors.

The Department of Tourism is working with partners across government to achieve a more streamlined investment pathway, reducing annual government fees by nearly 22% with the aim of further reductions in the near future.

Another key TIEP initiative is the Tourism Investment One Stop Shop, which will launch later this year in collaboration with the Saudi Business Center. The one-stop shop will offer all travel ecosystem services under one roof and support investors through their complete investment journey in addition to online integration and digital experiences.

His Excellency Ahmed Al-Khatib, Minister of Tourism said: “Saudi Arabia offers the world a rich variety of culture and experience. Vision 2030 has set Saudi Arabia on its way to becoming a global tourism hub, with the tourism sector in Saudi Arabia a key driver of economic diversification.

“In 2023, we have seen a 390% increase in the demand for tourism licenses, and this is just the beginning. Over the next 10 years, Saudi Arabia will be the world’s largest investor in this sector as we continue to unlock our country’s potential.”

One of Vision 2030’s key targets of welcoming 100 million tourists has already been achieved seven years ahead of schedule, and the tourism investment support program is a key catalyst for achieving the even more ambitious target of 150 million tourists per year.

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