Published on : Tuesday, October 13, 2020
Saudi Arabia aims increasing the number of tour guides to 13,000 by 2030 for providing services to about 20 per cent of 100 million tourists.
Sattam Al Balawi, the chairman of the Saudi Tourism Guidance Association, said that the number of guides about two years ago was about 600, but now the number has reached 900.
The Saudi Ministry of Tourism has planned increasing the number of tourist sites by more than 150 per cent in less than two years. This shows the Saudi government’s eagerness for improving this sector.
Saudi Arabia aims to increase tourism’s contribution to the Kingdom’s GDP from 3 to 10 per cent, and to create one million new jobs in this sector.
Al Balawi said that the Asir region is leading the Saudi summer season this year regarding number of tourists. He said that Asir had the lion’s share in tourists, attracted by destinations including Tabuk, Al Wajh, Umluj and Yanbu. These destinations hold the potential to attract more visitors in the coming years, especially with the opening of major projects.
Al Balawi said that a guide’s daily wage depends on his skill, capabilities, experience, and ability to market him and gain confidence of tour operators. Some make between 1,000 and 1,500 riyals, while others get between 300 and 500 riyals. Regarding high prices of hotels and restaurants, he said that the market is subject to the law of supply and demand, and as long as there is scarcity of rooms, the price will be high.
He added that increased investment is required in the accommodation sector, and tourism represents a genuine opportunity to change the general perception about the Saudi society.