Saudi Arabia in partnership with the World Bank, pledged $100m to create a global fund for inclusive tourism. The tourism and travel sector were one of the worst hit by the Coronavirus pandemic, as movement restrictions imposed to curb it’s spread brought international travel to a halt.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter is among the many countries that are planning to open tourism. More than sixty two million tourism jobs were lost last year, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.
Travel is slowly restarting this year as the global vaccine rollout gains pace and the government begins establishing travel corridors as infections ebb. The country is developing a number of sustainable projects, including Neom, a $500 million futuristic city comprising a nature reserve, coral reefs, heritage sites and most ambitiously, a Red sea development project, which would contain the island’s off city’s western coast.
Opening the regional office in Riyadh was a sign of the Saudi government making a significant step towards a more inclusive, resilient and sustainable future for the sector. It also signals their commitment to creating a more responsible approach to tourism that uplifts communities and drives economies, while preserving the environment and respecting local cultures.