The Saudi tourism sector is working hard to harness human resources and boost skills to meet present and future needs. Image Credit: Reuters

Cairo: Amid a drive to empower women in the kingdom, a Saudi official has said that women account for 45% of the overall work force in the kingdom’s thriving tourism industry.

Deputy Minister of Tourism Princess Haifa bint Mohammed put at 925,000 the total number of employees in the Saudi tourism sector, some 45% of them are women.

In remarks at a Riyadh debate session on future-orientated tourism manpower, the official hailed diligent work in the Saudi tourism sector to harness human resources and boost skills to meet present and future needs.

She said the kingdom’s tourism industry is currently focusing on generating new types of tourism as well as on sustainability.

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has offered a set of facilities designed to draw more foreign tourists to the country as part of an ambitious development scheme designed to diversify oil-reliant economy and emerge as a major global tourist destination.

They include the issuance of tourist visas on arrival or online for citizens of several nationalities. The entertainment tourism has recently taken strides in Saudi Arabia with a diverse calendar.

The numbers of tourists in Saudi Arabia surged to more than 100 million last year, Saudi Tourism Minister Ahmed Al Khateeb recently said. He added that the kingdom’s tourism sector last year fulfilled a target of 100 million tourists including 77 million local visitors and 27 million tourist arrivals.

Al Kateeb cited a strategy charted by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman envisaging 150 million tourists in the country by 2030, including 80 million local tourists and 70 foreign million arrivals.