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Saudi Arabia announces $11 billion tourism investment drive

Hospitality Investment Enablers initiative aims to create 120,000 new jobs

Saudi Arabia announces $11 billion tourism investment drive
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

Saudi Arabia aims to become a global tourism powerhouse, with the tourism sector being a key driver of economic diversification.

In 2023, the country saw a 390% increase in demand for tourism activity licenses. One of the key targets of welcoming 100 million tourists was also achieved last year. 

Now, Saudi Arabia has unlocked a multi-billion dollar investment, the Tourism Investment Enablers Program (TIEP), to achieve an even more ambitious target of 150 million annual tourists.

TIEP aims to make it easier and more cost-effective to do business in Saudi tourism for international and local investors. This comprehensive initiative will aim to catalyze private investments in key tourism sites across the kingdom by up to $11 billion and drive a projected annual GDP increase of $4 billion by 2030.

The flagship initiative includes a range of strategic enablers designed to improve business operations and project viability. Key enablers include facilitating access to government-owned land under favorable terms, streamlining project development processes, and reducing barriers to market entry. Multiple regulatory adjustments are part of the effort to lower operational costs and encourage industry growth.

A notable aspect of the initiative is its focus on benefiting local communities across tourism destinations. By localizing services such as contracting, design, and consulting, the program aims to positively impact various sectors. This approach, coupled with over $800 billion invested to transform the tourism landscape, underscores Saudi Arabia’s commitment to enhancing industry standards and providing lucrative opportunities for investors.

Saudi Arabia expects the initiative to impact the socio-economic landscape significantly, creating 42,000 new room keys and approximately 120,000 job opportunities, furthering talent development and supporting Saudization efforts.

The wider TIEP includes regulatory reforms across tourism licensing for multiple types and scales of operations now available to better fit the specific needs of investors.

The Ministry of Tourism has worked with partners across the government to achieve a more streamlined investment pathway, pushing annual government fees down by nearly 22% to reduce further soon.

Another key initiative of TIEP is the Tourism Investment One Stop Shop, which will be launched later this year in collaboration with the Saudi Business Center. The One Stop Shop will offer all Tourism ecosystem services under one roof and support investors through their full investment journey in addition to online integration and digital experiences.

The Innovation By Design Summit is in Doha on April 24. Attendance at the summit is by invitation only. Delegates can register here to receive their exclusive invite.

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