Saudi Arabia open to readjusting 150m tourists Vision 2030 target if goal achieved early, official reveals 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is open to readjusting its goal of attracting 150 million visitors by 2030 if those numbers are achieved ahead of time, according to the deputy minister of destination enablement at the Ministry of Tourism. 

Speaking in an interview with Arab News on the sidelines of the first day of the Future Hospitality Summit taking place in Riyadh from April 29 to May 1, Mahmoud Abdulhadi explained that targets are adjusted based on performance.

“As we hit our target seven years ahead of target, our 100 million target, we therefore now have a new target,” Abdulhadi said. 

“I’m sure if we were to hit that new target with a significant overperformance in terms of the timeline, our targets would also be adjusted,” he added. 

The deputy minister went on to stress that this does not affect the ministry’s plans significantly as the entity works to ensure the sector is sustainable and can grow.

“The fact that we’ve been able to absorb the 100 million tourists in the last year, and we will continue to see growth in that figure, it just means that some of our plans may need to be accelerated, some of them may need to be modified a little bit,” Abdulhadi highlighted. 

“But we’ve always been planning to make sure that that sustainability and that growth is embedded in everything that we do,” he affirmed. 

The deputy minister clarified that there will be no change in terms of how the entity will deliver. Instead, there may be some modifications regarding its tactical priorities as well as delivery timelines. 

Regarding the ministry’s secondary role as the sector’s regulator, Abdulhadi underlined that the organization is working to promote the industry from an investment perspective to create a visitable and sustainable field.

“In order to do this, that enablement means that we are cascading down our national tourism strategy and our national targets onto and through our partners in the government, be they the other ministries, because, as you know, tourism is a very horizontal sector; we cover a lot of of other industries,” he empathized.

Abdulhadi also mentioned that the ministry is working with the regional development authorities to help ensure that they are delivering on the promise made at the national level to conceive these destinations correctly. 

“So again, we are the regulator, and we are there to make sure that the environment is in the right place, it is in the right regulations, and it is in the right attractiveness to investors and visitors alike,” the deputy minister said. 

“We are definitely working with the private sector to help facilitate for them, where investors come in and they bring in operators. We try and assist both parties on making sure that the product that is delivered meets our ambitions,” he added.

Discussing the pledge to create one million additional jobs in the sector, Abdulhadi explained how the ministry is currently engaging with several international operators and providers of training facilities and education.

“We’ve committed to train over 100,000 Saudis a year, and in order to do this, we’ve teamed up with with the best people globally and domestically in order to deliver on those training programs,” Abdulhadi concluded. 

More than 1,200 global investors are expected to partake in FHS. The event, which is being held at Al-Faisaliah Hotel, will focus on sustainable tourism and technology-driven hospitality under the theme, “Invest in Tomorrow: Today, Together.”   

Industry leaders are projected to discuss sustainable development, investment prospects, entrepreneurship, and human capital, as well as gain insights into the continued expansion of the Kingdom’s hospitality and tourism sectors.   

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