Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities ( SCTA ), said that there were 33 million domestic flights for local tourists in 2012, providing 1.126 mn direct and indirect jobs in this sector.
Prince Sultan was speaking at the recently concluded World Travel Market (WTM) in London. During a panel discussion entitled “How to bridge the gap between tourism and aviation”, Prince Sultan said that the Kingdom had seen a dramatic increase in domestic tourism.
Citing statistics made available through the SCTA, he said there were 18.6 mn tourist departures and 14.3 mn arrival flights, including 7.2 Haj and Umrah trips. Together, he said, they make Saudi Arabia an attractive destination for a large number of international carriers. He said this had resulted in providing 1.126 million jobs in the tourism sector, including 751,000 direct jobs with the presence of Saudis going up from 10 percent in 2000 to 27 percent in 2013.
There are around 219,000 employees in the aviation sector, besides 139,000 jobs associated with aviation activities created indirectly in the tourism sector. Prince Sultan also dwelt on the growing economic importance of the Kingdom and its position as an important hub in the global economy.
Prince Sultan revealed that the STCA has worked to develop and implement a national plan for the development of tourism in the Kingdom and increase competition. The STCA has created tourist sites for investment, he said. He pointed out that the General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) in the Kingdom had increased the number of flights by providing licensing to new airlines, in addition to opening regional airports for domestic and international flights.
He said the Kingdom was currently working on increasing the capacity of airports to accommodate growing demand in this sector.