Riyadh: The tourism ecosystem of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is undergoing a major overhaul with the announcement of a New Tourism Law approved this week by a Council of Ministers Resolution. The law will accelerate the development of an internationally competitive tourism sector in the Kingdom, which will boost business, innovation and investment.
The New Tourism Law will create new regulatory environments in the Kingdom to attract tourism innovators and improve the ease of doing business. This enables new or experimental tourism businesses to obtain special licenses and support from the Ministry, allowing them to thrive. It will also simplify licensing processes and procedures by creating a one-stop 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 tourist services offered within the Kingdom, guaranteeing the highest possible standards for both tourists and businesses, while also strengthening the development of the destination.
The law also expands the Ministry’s competence for rapid cooperation with government units to mitigate risks and manage crises.
The Council of Ministers further approved a resolution empowering the Ministry of Tourism to enable the growth of the sector. The resolution gives the Ministry permission to facilitate tax and customs exemptions or reductions with related government units, creating strong incentives for businesses to invest in the Kingdom’s growing tourism sector.
It also enables the Ministry to work in collaboration with other private sector entities to create job plans and training programs, enabling job creation and training for Saudis and fostering human capital development in the Kingdom.
This new framework for cooperation with the private sector and relevant government entities will improve the quality of services in the tourism sector and promote Arabia as a top five global destination. It will accelerate the achievement of the objectives set by the National Tourism Strategy and the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, including 100 million new visits, tourism’s contribution of 10 percent of GDP and 1 million new jobs in tourism.
His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb, Minister of Tourism, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, said: “In our ongoing work to develop, promote and enable an internationally competitive tourism sector as a key pillar of Vision 2030, we are pleased to announce The adoption of the new tourism law in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will promote business and investment, support innovation and attract tourists, in line with international best practices.
“This law follows the Kingdom’s recent announcement of the Regulation of Regional Tourism Development Councils, a major milestone in the advancement of Saudi Arabia’s National Tourism Strategy. The regulation will accelerate the development of tourist destinations in various regions, including NEOM, Al-Soudah, Red Sea and Diriyah Gate.
“With a future-focused vision, we are working diligently to improve hospitality standards and deliver unparalleled and enriching visitor experiences.”
The New Tourism Law was developed with reference to 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 is considered within the law, including the provision of a new tool that administers permits for experimental tourism activities. The tourism sector is among the first sectors in the Kingdom to use this regulatory tool.
The law contains key data considerations, stipulating the establishment of an information database containing statistics and information on all aspects of the Saudi tourism sector in accordance with international best practices for tourism investors, service providers, tourists and other interested parties. Published on the website of the Ministry, the data will be updated regularly in coordination with the relevant entities.