Saudi Arabia to open doors to tourists before end of 2019

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Ahmed Al Khatib, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) speaking at the 23rd session of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in St. Petersburg on Wednesday. — Courtesy photo

Saudi Gazette report

ST. PETERSBURG –
Saudi Arabia will open its doors to tourists from around the world before the end of this year. This was announced by Ahmed Al Khatib, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH).

He made the remarks while addressing the 23rd session of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) here. He heads the Saudi delegation attending the conference, which will conclude on Friday.

For his part, Secretary General of UNWTO Zurab Pololikashvili praised the ambitious plan of Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman and what the Kingdom has been doing to reach the forefront of global tourism destinations, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Al-Khatib said the Kingdom is proud and honored to be one of the first countries to work with WTO in the initial studies of the project of Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism (MST).

“We are working with the organization to develop our statistical tools through the methodology to know the number of visitors,” he said while referring to the membership of SCTH in the Committee on Statistics and the Tourism Satellite Account of UNWTO.

The Committee undertakes coordination with international organizations and institutions to lead and control the international statistical standards under the umbrella of the United Nations, to assist member countries in improving national systems both for tourism statistics and tourism satellite account.

Khatib also announced cooperation with the organization in the preparation of a strategy to develop human capital in tourism and the establishment of a tourism academy.

The Kingdom invited the Executive Council to meet in the Kingdom in 2020. The Kingdom has so far provided a total of $1.7 million to finance cooperation between the Kingdom and the Organization in a number of projects.

The General Assembly of UNWTO approved the nomination of Saudi Arabia to the Executive Council of its Middle East Committee for the third time in a row, besides renewing the Kingdom’s membership in the Committee on Tourism Statistics; and the Program and Budget Committee.

The Kingdom also found a place in the committee to review applications for membership of the Executive Council.


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