The Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) believes that the tourism sector is one of the key drivers of the Saudi economy and is an important factor for economic development, especially given the SAR 290 billion worth of tourism-related projects that are currently underway in the Kingdom, including railway projects. These developments are expected to create more job opportunities for Saudi nationals, who currently account for 28% of the 670,000 tourism-related jobs in the Kingdom.
Given the increasing demand for high quality hospitality projects across the Kingdom, especially in Makkah, Abdul Latif Jameel Real Estate Investment Co. (ALJREIC), one of the leading real estate and development companies in Saudi Arabia that is focused on developing hotel facilities for Hajj and Ummrah visitors, recently launched the SAR 10 billion Jabal Al Ka’aba project. Upon completion, the project is expected to add up to 8,500 hotel rooms through a cluster of hotels over the next few years, under the Anjum Hotels brand.
“Through the Jabal Al Ka’aba project we expect to create approximately 400 jobs for Saudi nationals, demonstrating ALJREIC’s commitment to strengthen the country’s tourism sector, while maximising employment opportunities for locals and supporting industry-oriented plans,” said Mahmoud Mokhtar, Chief Operating Officer of Abdul Latif Jameel Real Estate Investment Co.
According to a report issued by MAS Centre, a department of the SCTA, the average annual occupancy of hotel rooms in the Kingdom has increased by 3.8% from 59.2% in 2010 to 63% in 2011; while tourism jobs accounted for eight per cent of total employees in the Kingdom in 2011, compared to 7.9% in 2010. SCTA also stressed on the economic potential of this promising sector to create new jobs across various levels, even as estimates indicate that the tourism sector will employ nearly 1.1 million people by 2015 in Saudi Arabia. once the planned tourism-related expected projects and investments start.
Before joining SME Advisor, I worked as a producer/reporter for Forbes Media in New York. I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and International Studies at the University of South Florida in the US. I am currently in Dubai working as Sub-Editor for SME Advisor Middle East, which is a business magazine published by CPI. You can follow me on Twitter: @joumanasaad or @SMEadvisorME and (Joumana Saad) or (SME Advisor) on LinkedIn.