RIYADH: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s tourism ecosystem is undergoing a major overhaul this week with the announcement of a new tourism law approved by a cabinet resolution. The legislation will accelerate the development of an internationally competitive tourism sector in the state that will drive business, innovation and investment.
The new tourism law will establish a new regulatory environment to attract tourism innovators and ease of doing business in the state. It allows new or experimental tourism businesses to receive special licenses and support from the ministry, allowing them to thrive. It will streamline licensing processes and procedures by creating a one-stop-shop platform for all tourism stakeholders. Both initiatives were announced in February 2022 as part of the Ministry’s Digital Tourism Strategy.
With the new legal framework, the Ministry of Tourism will have greater control over the quality of tourism services offered within the state, strengthening destination development and ensuring the highest possible standards for both tourists and businesses.
The law also expanded the ministry’s remit for rapid collaboration with government agencies in risk reduction and crisis management.
The Council of Ministers has also passed a proposal to enable the Ministry of Tourism to develop the region. The proposal allows the ministry to facilitate tax and customs exemptions or reductions with relevant government agencies, creating a powerful incentive for businesses to invest in the state’s growing tourism sector.
This enables the ministry to collaborate with other private sector organizations to establish action plans and training programs, enable job creation and training for Saudis, and promote human capital development in the Kingdom.
This new framework for collaboration with the private sector and relevant government agencies will improve the quality of services in the tourism sector and promote Saudi Arabia as a top five global destination. This will accelerate the achievement of the goals set by the state’s National Tourism Strategy and Vision 2030, which include 100 million new visits, 10 percent of tourism’s GDP contribution and 1 million new tourism jobs.
His Excellency Ahmed Al Khatib, Minister of Tourism, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, said: “In our continued work to develop, promote and enable an internationally competitive tourism sector as a key pillar of Vision 2030, we are pleased to announce the approval. Compliant practices will support business and investment, innovation and attract tourists.
“This law follows the recent announcement of the Kingdom’s Regional Tourism Development Council Regulation, a major milestone in advancing Saudi Arabia’s national tourism strategy. The regulation will accelerate the development of tourist destinations in various regions, including NEOM, Al-Sauda, Red Sea and Diriya Gate.
“With a focused vision on the future, we are working diligently to upgrade hospitality standards and deliver unprecedented and enriching visitor experiences.”
The new tourism law was developed in the context of international best practices identified by the top twenty countries in the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index.
The rapid development of the tourism sector and its integration with modern technologies are considered within the law, including the provision of new tools that allow for experimental tourism activities. The tourism sector is the first sector in the state to use this regulatory tool.
The law includes key data considerations, providing for the establishment of an information database containing statistics and information on all aspects of the Saudi tourism sector in line with international best practices for tourism investors, service providers, tourists, and other interested parties. Published on the Ministry’s website, the statistics will be updated regularly in coordination with relevant agencies.