Following a profitable stint as chief government of the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Growth Authority, Haitham Mattar final 12 months moved to a brand new position in Saudi Arabia.
The Center Jap vacation spot has been embarking on a programme – often called Imaginative and prescient 2030 – designed to overtake its economic system, diversifying away from a reliance on oil.
The event of the tourism sector is predicted to play a key position within the technique, and, as senior advisor to the Saudi Fee for Tourism & Nationwide Heritage, Mattar is nicely positioned to utilise his experience.
Chatting with Amy Kitchingman for Breaking Journey Information, he reveals “the success of any vacation spot comes right down to technique, and any vacation spot with no tourism technique is a recipe for failure”.
For Saudi, this implies a rise within the availability of visas, and a extra welcoming environment for worldwide travellers.
As Mattar explains: “Saudi has an in depth tradition, a deep-rooted historical past, nice heritage, stunning nature and pure property together with seashores, mountains and beautiful dessert.
“Right now we’re specializing in the short- to medium-term, the place by 2022 we purpose to see 62 million guests every year, rising to 100 million yearly by 2030.
“The important thing focus at the moment is on selling the cultural experiences, the heritage and the journey product to guests the world over.”
The launch of a brand new e-visa system has been a selected success, with Chinese language and British company flocking to the nation.
The Pink Sea Growth will turn out to be the jewel of Saudi tourism
For now, the bedrock of Saudi hospitality stays non secular tourism, with tens of millions of Muslim travellers visiting Mecca every year as a part of the Hajj.
Nevertheless, within the longer-term there are plans so as to add a extra leisure-focused providing.
Mattar provides: “In addition to the cultural providing, we have now been ramping up the leisure sector in Saudi Arabia.
“We’ve got seen plenty of very giant live shows, the boxing, the arrival of Method E and the Dhaka Rally, all of which have acted as demand mills, positioning Saudi on the worldwide map.
“This has allowed individuals to return and see the nation, and expertise it another way.”
Because the market grows, Saudi Arabia may even have to develop its tourism infrastructure, with plans in place to develop the services worldwide travellers anticipate.
Chief amongst these investments are plenty of ‘gigaprojects’, led by the Pink Sea Growth, which can see dozens of unique luxurious motels opened in a objective construct vacation spot within the north of the nation.
Mattar explains: “A few of these locations are fully untouched and we’re placing loads of safety in place, however there are some unbelievable alternatives.
“We’re centered right here on sustainable tourism, the time period ‘overtourism’ all the time involves thoughts, however so long as we proceed to work the best way we’re, with the tourism board, in managing we are able to overcome any issues.”
Mattar was himself just lately recognised for his Excellent Contribution to the Journey & Tourism Business by the World Journey Awards
Trying forward, and Saudi Arabia can be presenting its new tourism providing at ITB Berlin, the most important European commerce present, in March.
“Saudi final participated at ITB Berlin in 2017, when there was a give attention to Islamic tourism.
“This 12 months, aligned with Imaginative and prescient 2030, and specializing in the important thing European markets – Germany, the UK, France and a number of the Scandinavian nations – we can be debuting our new pavilion, which has been superbly designed and can supply an genuine expertise.
“Guests from the world over cannot solely do enterprise, but additionally immerse themselves within the historical past and the tradition of Saudi Arabia, be that the meals, the dates or the espresso.”
The Saudi Fee for Tourism & Nationwide Heritage is dedicated to the sustainable improvement of the trade within the kingdom.
It goals to offer a transparent path for the trade, working in shut partnership with companions to seek out and create a local weather through which the trade is predicted to realize a excessive diploma of self-sufficiency.
Discover out extra on the official web site.