- The Board commended the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ praise for SCTH’s efforts and its partners in the field of cultural heritage.
- The Board approves recommendations of the economic study conducted by SCTH in cooperation with the World Bank on the potential of the cultural heritage in creating abundant job opportunities.
- Reviewed developments in the activation of tourist visa and reaffirmed its importance and prospective role in increasing tourism flows and developing tourism services.
- Putting the visa electronic system into effect in the first quarter of 2018.
- Decision to establish a permanent committee for the Protection of the coastal zone environment that will contribute to developing tourism services and investments over Kingdom’s coasts.
His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, President of SCTH, on Sunday, 17th December 2017, chaired the 43rd meeting of the Board of Directors of SCTH at the headquarters of the Commission in Riyadh.
At the outset of the meeting, the Board extended its appreciation and gratitude to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdul Aziz (may Allah protect him) for his persistent support to the efforts of SCTH and the Saudi tourism sector referring to his patronage of the 1st Saudi Archeology Convention, which was opened by HRH Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdul Aziz, Governor of Riyadh and Chairman of Riyadh Tourism Development Council on 7th December 2017.
Tribute to the custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
The Board welcomed the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdul Aziz (may Allah protect him) praising of the efforts of SCTH and its partners in his speech at the opening of the Forum in the fields of cultural heritage and preservation and rehabilitation of heritage and archeological sites, especially the Islamic history sites as well as expressing his honor of the unprecedented renaissance at different levels of the cultural heritage and archeological discoveries.
The Board also welcomed the Cabinet’s praising of the speech of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in the opening of the 1st Saudi Archeology Convention and his affirmation that the cultural heritage is part and parcel of the Kingdom’s identity and history as well as a major component of the future.
Tribute to the success of 1st Saudi Archeology Convention
The Board commended the success of the Forum and for the considerable interaction between specialists and citizens. The Board also commended the accompanying exhibitions of the Forum, in particular the Roads of Arabia Exhibition, which is marked by a remarkable turnout of citizens, expatriates, government officials and state guests.
The Board, on the other hand, commended the paper presented by HRH President of SCTH in the Forum under the theme “Islam started in the Arabian Peninsula since the creation of man by God”. The paper proposed new interpretation of the history of the Arabian Peninsula and was discussed by many specialists in the Forum.
The Board stressed SCTH’s welcoming of the decision of the Council of Ministers of 28 November 2017 on the transformation of the Committee that was formed by Royal Decree No. (m/982) of 3rd January 1999, into (a permanent committee for the preservation of the environments of the tourist areas, consisting of representatives of the authorities concerned.
The Board stressed the importance of the resolution on the development of tourism services and investments in coastal areas and their use in establishing leisure and tourism zones for citizens.
The Board commended the Government for its support for the SCTH projects, which reflects the state’s belief in the economic importance of tourism as well as for providing it the necessary financial support that was required by SCTH in the tourism development strategy.
The Board congratulated HRH President of SCTH for being honored by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) on 13 December 2017, in China during the meetings of the 22nd session of the General Assembly of UNWTO, in recognition of his role in the support of national and international tourism development, as well as changing the society’s views on tourism and heritage, and for supporting the efforts and programs of UNWTO.
The Board commended Prince Sultan bin Salman’s attribution of his honoring to everyone working with SCTH or supported its efforts and programs, besides attributing this to SCTH partners in the public and private sectors who contributed alongside SCTH for development of the tourism sector.
The Board also congratulated HRH President of SCTH of being decorated by the First Tunisian Merit Medal by Tunisian President Béji Kaid Sibsi on last 20th October 2017, in recognition of his international and regional efforts at different levels.
The Board reviewed the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ granting the King Abdul Aziz First Class Order to His Excellency Dr. Talib Al Rifai, Secretary General of the WTO, in recognition of his great efforts during his term in UNWTO and the important role he played in directing the part of human potentials to support the efforts of SCTH and for promoting the tourism sector in the Kingdom.
The Board also commended HRH Prince Sultan bin Salman’s honoring the Secretary General of UNWTO, Dr. Talib Al Rifai in Riyadh on the occasion of the end of his tenure by the end of 2017 and in recognition of his efforts ever since taking over the office of WTO and his support and development for international tourism in general and his efforts in enhancing partnership and cooperation’s programs with SCTH in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in particular.
The Board expressed its appreciation to Dr. Talib Rifai for his efforts in serving world tourism through the organization, stressing that he had brought qualitative transfers to the organization to become one of the most important United Nations organs.
SCTH President’s international participations:
The Board was briefed on the international events attended by HRH President of SCTH during the past period, including:
- Participation in the 2nd International Conference of Tourism and Culture which was organized by the Omani Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with UNWTO in Muscat, Oman, from 11-12 December 2017.
- HRH President of SCTH official visit to Egypt during which he led the delegation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to attend the 20th session of the Arab Tourism Ministerial Council meeting which was held on 06/12/2017, in Cairo. HRH President of SCTH on the sidelines of his visit met with the Egyptian President Abdul Fatah Sisi, in addition to the Secretary General of the League of Arab States, Ahmed Abu Al Ghait and Al Azhar Sheikh, Dr. Ahmed Al Taib and Egyptian Minister of Tourism, Mohamed Yaha Rashid.
- Participated in the International Conference on the Preservation of Islamic World Heritage, which was organized by the Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA) in collaboration with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, in Istanbul on 1st November 2017.
- HRH President of SCTH led the Kingdom’s delegation to Tunis to attend the tourism investment Forum, which was held in the Tunisian capital, Tunis. On the sidelines of the Forum HRH president of SCTH met with the Tunisian President, Béji Kaid Sibsi, in addition to the Tunisian Foreign Affairs Minister, Khamis Al Jehainawi and Minister of Tourism and Handicraft Salma Al Lowmi. HRH President of SCTH led the delegation of the Kingdom to attend the 22nd session of the General Assembly of UNWTO which was held in China on 13th September 2017.
- HRH President of SCTH’s meeting at the headquarters of SCTH with the Bulgarian Minister of Tourism and the delegation accompanying her on 29/11/2017, as well as offering a dinner banquet in honor of the Prime Minister of Bulgaria and King Simeon II, former Prime Minister of Bulgaria, at King Abdul Aziz Historic Center in Riyadh.
South Korea’s attention towards Roads of Arabia
The Board commended the heavy turnout and wide attention enjoyed by the Roads of Arabia exhibition in the National Museum of South Korea in Seoul, which was kicked off on 8th May and lasted for three month, during which it was visited by over 400,000 visitors.
“Possible Imagination” book
The Board commended the publication of the (Possible Imagination) of HRH President of SCTH, which highlights his personal experience and SCTH journey throughout its different stages since its foundation in the year 2000.
The Board stressed the importance of the Possible Imagination book, which represents an important resource on SCTH achievements, administrative experience, since the start of the tourism and cultural heritage track and until finalizing the development of tourism sector, establishing its regulatory and legislative structures and launching its related projects, initiatives, and resolutions.
Success of the 11th session of Souk Okaz
The Board expressed its pride on the success of the 11th session of Souk Okaz, which was held under the patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques (may Allah protect him) and opened by HRH Prince Khalid Al Faisal, Governor of Makkah on 12th July 2017.
Saudi Colors Forum
The Board commended the events of the 6th session of the Saudi Colors Forum, which was opened under the patronage of HRH President of SCTH at Riyadh International Exhibition and Convention Center on 12 December 2017. The Board referred to the role of the Forum in highlighting Kingdom’s tourism and heritage potentials and encouraging the citizens to enjoy them.
Welcoming new members
The Board expressed its appreciation to the members who ended their terms in the Board, commending their past efforts and contributions to the works of the Board and SCTH.
The Board on the other hand welcomed the new members of the Board who have been approved by the Cabinet in its session that was chaired by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques on 17 October 2017, and will join the Board for a three-year term.
Tourism’s contribution to overcoming unemployment
The Board emphasized that, the new participation of Ministry of Labor and Social Development in the Board of directors of SCTH due to a request of SCTH reflects attention towards enhancing the role of tourism in creating more job opportunities for the Saudi citizens.
In this context, HRH President of SCTH said, “I am much delighted at the contribution of SCTH in overcoming unemployment through creating suitable job opportunities across the provinces for the citizens from different social categories and educational levels.”
The meeting discussed a number of issues related to SCTH projects, programs and activities, as follows:
Approving the recommendations of the economic study
The Board approved the recommendations of the economic study that was carried out by SCTH in collaboration with the World Bank in an effort to detect the economic impacts and large potentials of the national heritage in the generation of feasible investment projects that may contribute to increasing national income and creating jobs for citizens.
The study has estimated the total of cultural trips in the Kingdom as 6.3 million and estimated the total impact of spending on the cultural tourism in the Kingdom during 2015 as SR 56.6 billion, besides estimating job opportunities that were generated by visitors’ activities in the cultural heritage sites and the surrounding trade activities as 112,000 jobs.
Tourism Marketing Council Organization Project
The Board briefed on the Tourism Marketing Council Organization Project which is one of the initiatives of SCTH under the National Transformation Program and it is intended to establish an organizational body in partnership with the private sector in order to manage and develop a number of products, activities and marketing means and tools to support the tourism industry, including supporting the convention and exhibition sector.
Tourism Visa Developments
The Board reviewed a report on the developments of activation of tourism visa and results of the team formed by Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and SCTH, which was assigned to finalize the development of the procedures that are agreed by the partners in this respect.
The Board emphasized the great economic impact expected from the opening of the tourism visa and its contribution in the increase of tourism flows and developing tourism services and tourism and heritage facilities across different parts of the Kingdom.
Noteworthy, the Department of Information Technology at SCTH is creating an electronic system for the issuance of tourism visas in coordination with the National Information Center and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to link SCTH with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Information Center.
The trail operation of the tourism visa electronic system is expected to be started before the end of the first quarter of 2018.
The previous experience of application of tourism visa during 2008-2010, had positive indications on the importance of the economic returns from such type of visas if it were to resume under a wide-ranging national initiative. The past experience attracted over 32,000 tourists whose visas were arranged by a number of travel and tourism offices licensed by SCTH.
The Board was briefed on the work progress in the tourism and hospitality projects lending program, which was approved by the Cabinet on 20th February 2015, and its budget was approved by the National Transformation Program at SR 2.7 billion until 2020.
SCTH International Participations
The Board reviewed a report on SCTH international participations, which were as following;
- Participation of SCTH represented by SCTH in ITB Berlin 2017, held in Berlin, Germany from 08-12 March 2017.
- Participation of Kingdom represented by SCTH in WTO in London from 6-8 November 2017.
The Activities of the Saudi Exhibition and Convention Bureau (SECB)
The Board reviewed a report on the activities of SECB in 2017. The report covered the initiatives that were approved by SECB, (about 90 initiatives) branched out of 23 strategic goals. During the report period, SECB has licensed 6,529 business events most of them about education, technology, communication, healthcare, economy, trade, consumer goods, retail and vocational services.
At the end of the meeting, the Board approved the signature of the contract of construction of the Northern Borders Museum in the Arar city at a total cost of SR 95,570,091.