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Tourism won’t threaten Saudi security, says Prince Sultan

Tourism won’t threaten Saudi security, says Prince Sultan

The president of the SCTA, Prince Sultan bin Salman, announced on Tuesday that tourism would not jeopardize Saudi security, nor will it become a ‘social burden’.

April 1, 2009 12:33 by

Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), said on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry would not become a security or social burden on the country.

“The SCTA is keen on security issues and works in coordination with the Interior Ministry,” he said.

Presiding over a meeting of SCTA’s board of directors in Riyadh, Prince Sultan said his organization wanted to make tourism a productive industry. “Our main goal is to develop the tourism sector for the benefit of citizens and their families, who represent the biggest tourism market in the Kingdom.”

He added: “We are not obliged or keen to opening national tourism to foreigners. It would be a big mistake to focus on attracting foreign tourists while we are not able to provide minimum services to our citizens who are anxious to see the attractions in their country.”

The board meeting approved bylaws for tourist-related organizations including the Saudi Society for Tourist Resorts, Saudi Society for Travel & Tourism, and Saudi Society for Tourist Guides. It also approved the panel of trustees for the National Museum.

The board also approved staging a Saudi-Chinese exhibition at the National Museum in Riyadh to highlight the cultural relations between the two countries and another joint exhibition at the British Museum on the development of Arab calligraphy.

“We’ll also hold an exhibition of national antiques retrieved from abroad,” Prince Sultan said, adding that the show coincides with a nationwide campaign to protect and register antiquities and to retrieve antiquities that are in illegal possession.

The prince also emphasized the need to meet the tourism expectations of citizens. “Saudi tourists are well aware of the importance of tourism and this has raised their expectations for tourism services,” he said.

“Saudi citizens have traveled around the world, and are demanding the tourism sector deliver services to match their expectations,” he explained.

He indicated that the SCTA was awaiting numerous decisions by the government that would have a significant impact on the tourism industry in the Kingdom. “Development of the tourism industry is integrated into the economy, and our ambition is to experience the basis of integrated tourism in all its elements, and this has still not been realized because of many overlaps and intersections,” he said.

“We have begun to make decisions and we trust that there will be a big leap in two or three years,” the SCTA chief said while acknowledging the fact that the Kingdom was still behind in the development of tourist infrastructure. “We are working on establishing five new museums in five provinces,” he said.

First seen in Arab News.

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