Marine tourism needs investment boost

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Prince Abdullah Al-Saud, head of the tourism and entertainment committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), speaks at the Jeddah Tourism and Entertainment Forum on Wednesday. — SG photo by Abdulaziz Hamad



Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH
— Prince Abdullah Al-Saud, head of the tourism and entertainment committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), attributed the lack of investment in marine tourism to old regulations imposed by the Saudi Boarder Guards.

“These outdated bylaws tend to disrupt investment in this sector,” Prince Abdullah told the Jeddah Tourism and Entertainment Forum on Wednesday.

Prince Abdullah expressed his disappointment at the absence of marine clubs in the Kingdom. He added that there is no society to protect marine heritage.

Jeddah has 110-kilometer-long beaches, but there are only 10 wharves, each of which can have 300 boats.

The prince said this is considered a very low number for a city that has around 4 million residents and welcomes between 5-7 million visitors.

Jeddah has 112 licensed yachts as opposed to 25,000 yachts in Dubai and 19,000 in Hurghada in Egypt, said marine specialist Mohammad Al-Mashat.

Fahad Al-Harthi, an investor in the sector, said that diving is almost absent in the city. In Egypt it generates $250 million in revenues and $700 million in revenues in the US.

Mohammad Al-Amri, head of the tourism authority in Makkah region, said that Jeddah has 6,000 licensed jet skis.

Thamir Nahas, the head of marine transportation in Makkah region, noted that there are 21,000 boats and 4,000 licensed divers.

Jeddah has 70 entertainment locations, 360 commercial centers and 105 public shopping spots. The entertainment and tourism accommodation investments are estimated at SR370 billion.


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