SCTH president: Saudi Arabia oriented to promote, enhance tourism

Prince Sultan bin Salman

:: Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), stressed the importance of tourism and the need to empower it to support and enhance the economy and create more job opportunities.

This came during a speech delivered on Wednesday by Prince Sultan at the opening of the 22nd session of the General Assembly of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in Chengdu, China.

He also pointed out that Saudi Arabia has worked with UNWTO to achieve the largest growth of the tourism sector.

“Under the direction of King Salman, Saudi Arabia is moving with all its power to promote, empower and support tourism at all levels to continue more successes and leaps that are in line with the aspirations of citizens, residents and visitors of the Kingdom,” the prince added.

He also pointed out that “tourism is the second sector in terms of numbers that provide job opportunities for Saudi citizens.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping explained the importance of supporting tourism in the world because it is an important channel for the exchange of knowledge and cultures among countries, economic development and job creation.

“The incoming tourism to China accounts for 10 percent of the local economy as 95 million people visit the country per year. China comes in fourth place at the international level.”

He added that the volume of spending on domestic tourism reaches more than $600 billion and that China is working at full capacity to further develop tourism because of its strength in providing real employment opportunities for citizens.

“The best way to develop the economy is through the empowerment of tourism and removal of obstacles it faces in various fields, and encouraging people to travel and enjoy the world,” he said in a speech delivered by his deputy prime minister.

The Chinese president stated that tourism is a job for all. He called for the mutual opening of doors and announced China’s desire to work with all countries to develop solutions for travel visas.

“Fifty-eight percent of passengers annually get visas; therefore, it is necessary to facilitate and improve procedures bilaterally with countries so that tourism can perform its role,” he said.

The secretary-general of the WTO, Taleb Rifai, cited the need to promote international tourism and support travel. He also said that 1.2 billion people travel annually and expected that the number will reach 1.8 billion people in 2030.

The General Assembly of the WTO, at its 22nd session, is the largest assembly to be held in the history of the UNWTO, with some 1,100 officials and 75 ministers representing more than 132 countries.

Bahrain and Egypt have been elected members of the executive council for the Middle East region along with Saudi Arabia, which is already a member of the council.

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