“The kingdom of Saudi Arabia participation in this year’s Arabian Travel Market in Dubai is significant and effective” – those were the opening words of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities’ (SCTA) President HRH Prince Sultan Bin Salam Bin Abdul Aziz.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Makhtoum, Vice President of United Arab Emirates (UAE), Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, on Monday, April 30, in the presence of His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, President of SCTA, opened the pavilion of SCTA in the 19th edition of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2012, in the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre (DICEC) in the United Arab Emirates.
“Kingdom of Saudi Arabia this year is represented culturally by the ‘Urban Heritage of Jeddah,’ and last time it was represented by the Urban Heritage of Asir and the next year, God willing, it will be represented by the Urban Heritage of the Eastern Province in the Kingdom,” added HRH.
HRH President of SCTA also emphasized that the kingdom’s focus this year will be mainly to attract tourists from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to its own tourism. The pavilion of the kingdom, which has been designed by young Saudis who work in SCTA, is enjoying large admiration by the visitors. ATM constituted a good opportunity for the tourism and hotel services providers to hold meetings in the “Saudi house” of the pavilion.
“At SCTA, we work very hard to revive tourism through building sustainable national tourism sectors. We are expecting issuance of a number of resolutions during the current year in connection with tourism and these are expected to make massive shift in the field of Saudi tourism,” Prince Sultan added.
“Saudi Arabia is a very large market of tourism. When we started it, there were little over 60,000 hotel rooms, and now these have scaled up in excess of 200,000.”
Confidence in Saudi Arabian market has encouraged many outstanding companies to enter it aggressively. On the jobs scenario, Prince Sultan bin Salman said, “Provision of jobs requires founding of large sectors that are capable of creating new job opportunities and appropriate to the citizens. The tourism sector is capable of providing such opportunities for citizens, regardless of differences in their age, educational levels, or places of living. Tourism continues to be one of the largest sectors of the three prolific sectors that create huge job opportunities in the kingdom.”
“The latest resolution of the Council of Ministers relating to the approval of the National Strategy for Handicraft Development is not confined to training artisans only, but its major aim is to find an integrated industry beginning from the development of the product and ending with its marketing,” he said.
“There is an increased demand on the national tourism, especially with a huge demand for hotels and furnished apartments, despite lack of funds and investments in this sector. The development and construction of roads networks, development of services, and encouragement in hotel investments will help boost tourism throughout the municipalities,” HRH opined.
We are on the verge of developing the exhibition and conferences sector as one of the largest sectors of tourism. The development process will be implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, he said.
“Saudi tourism deserves to be a regional leader for the distinguished potentials it has, including its citizens, antiquities, and the architectural heritage. Tourism in the kingdom is growing rapidly, despite its weakness in services. We are working with our partners and investors to provide the necessary support for this important sector,” HRH continued.
“We want resolutions related to tourism to be issued as quickly as possible, because the tourism industry in Saudi Arabia is, first and foremost, a national project of cultural, economic, and services sectors that SCTA is working to develop and continues to follow up with its organization,” he added.
HRH President of SCTA at the end of his statement stressed that, the most serious threat to Saudi tourism is that it may not be able to meet what the citizen really wants from tourism in his country, unless the sector aspirations are met adequately.
Noteworthy, KSA pavilion is attracting an unsurpassed number of visitors from Gulf, Saudi, and foreign visitors, who toured in the corridors of the pavilion, in which several activities and live shows are taking place, in addition there are handicrafts displays and folklore performances. The Kaba wing and the Zamzam water were especially very popular with visitors. The Kaba cloth factory wing, in which a piece of Al Kaba covering is displayed in the form of real textile, in addition to a live display by an expert weaving in front of the amazed visitors.
In addition, a special corner for Zamzam water is set, in which the Zamzam water deliverers are busy delivering Zamzam to the visitors. Husain Betar, who distributed Zamzam water to the visitors according to Hejazi traditions, was using a clay jar as the old deliverers used to deliver Zamzam water, that added authenticity to its sanctity.
The “Herfa” association had significant presence in the pavilion, which highlighted the efforts of Saudi women artisans through handmade products, textile, and productive families. Hejazi music was there emanating through a youth from Makkah, who played a Zither, performing a classic tune of Hejazi music in front of the visitors to the pavilion.