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PIF boosts Saudi Arabia’s tourism; eyes $5 billion investment opportunities in Oman

The sovereign wealth fund aims to leverage each city's unique tourism offerings

PIF boosts Saudi Arabia’s tourism; eyes $5 billion investment opportunities in Oman
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

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Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has taken a significant step towards bolstering the kingdom’s burgeoning tourism sector by establishing the Saudi Tourism Investment Company, also known as Asfar.

According to a PIF statement, Asfar will play a pivotal role in fostering the growth of the tourism industry in the Arab world’s largest economy. The company plans to invest in new tourism projects and develop destinations encompassing hospitality, tourist attractions, retail outlets, and food and beverage offerings across various cities in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia has been implementing a series of social reforms alongside its economic agenda, which have contributed to the kingdom’s economic growth, with an expansion of 8.7% recorded last year and 3.8% in the first quarter of this year, primarily fueled by growth in the non-oil sector.

Earlier this year, the PIF-owned AlUla Development Company commenced operations to transform the city of AlUla into a prominent global tourism destination within Saudi Arabia. 

In addition, Saudi Entertainment Ventures (Seven), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the PIF, revealed its plan to invest $13.3 billion in 21 integrated entertainment destinations spread across 14 cities in the kingdom. 

Asfar’s primary mission is to attract domestic and international tourists to explore the untapped potential of numerous destinations across Saudi Arabia. By doing so, it aims to contribute significantly to the national target of attracting 100 million visitors annually by 2030.

Recently, PIF entered into a preliminary agreement with Oman’s sovereign wealth fund, Oman Investment Authority (OIA), to explore potential investment opportunities in Oman. The agreement aims to identify projects with a total value of up to $5 billion in the sultanate.

PIF already owns several companies that aim to develop tourism destinations across the country. Among these are Aseer Investment Company, which seeks to transform the region of Aseer into a year-round tourism destination, and Saudi Downtown Company, tasked with building and developing downtown areas within the kingdom.

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