Saudi Tourism Development Fund signs SR160bn agreement for tourism projects


Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH — Saudi Arabia’s Tourism Development Fund on Monday signed an agreement with local banks to finance up to SR160 billion ($43 billion) of tourism projects in the Kingdom, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The agreement was signed by the fund’s CEO Qusai Al-Fakhri, the CEO of Riyadh Bank Tareq Al-Sadhan, and the managing director and CEO of Banque Saudi Fransi, Rayan Fayez.

Saudi Arabias Minister of Tourism and chairman of the fund’s board of directors, Ahmad Al-Khateeb, was present during the signing ceremony.

The agreement will set up mechanisms to finance tourism projects across the Kingdom as part of the government’s efforts to develop the sector, a key pillar of Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman’s Vision 2030 reform strategy to reduce dependence on oil.

According to an official statement: “This agreement includes defining ways of cooperation between the fund and the participating banks by setting up mechanisms to support financing tourism projects in various regions of the Kingdom”.

The fund, founded in June with an initial $4 billion investment, is part of plans to diversify the economy in the face of the coronavirus pandemic and low oil prices.

The fund seeks to launch investment vehicles to develop tourism in collaboration with private and investment banks.

Saudi Arabia, which opened its doors to foreign tourists in September 2019 by launching a new visa regime for 49 countries, wants the sector to contribute 10 percent of gross domestic product by 2030.