HRH Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) chaired the 29th meeting of the Board of Directors of SCTA held on Monday, September 10, 2012 in the city of Taif. At the meeting, procedures to put into effect a Cabinet resolution on prices of tourism services in the Kingdom were assessed, along with a review of the agreement of cooperation signed between SCTA and the Ministry of Labor to Saudize tourism jobs, expressing its responsibility to provide employment opportunities in various regions of the Kingdom. Also addressed was the adoption of key projects for the development of national urban heritage, and the adoption of a new organizational structure of the SCTA to enable provinces on local tourism administration.
HRH Prince Khalid Al Faisal bin Abdul Aziz, Governor of the Makkah region, met with the President and members of the Board of Directors of SCTA at the meeting, where he welcomed the members of the board in the Taif Municipality, expressing his appreciation to the great efforts of SCTA for the development of tourism and preservation of the national heritage.
HRH the Governor of Makkah and HRH President of SCTA, along with the members of the Board, attended a presentation on the efforts of the Supreme Committee for Al Taif Development. The Committee was formed by a Royal Decree by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques chaired by HRH Governor of Makkah, and the membership of HRH the Minister of MOMRA, HRH President of SCTA, and HE Minster of Finance.
Personally and on behalf of the board, HRH President of SCTA extended his deepest appreciation and gratitude to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, and HRH Crown Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense, for the latest important resolutions regarding the provision of infrastructure for the Al Ogair Development Project and on the prices of tourism services. The latest resolutions will contribute to the development of national tourism by meeting increased demand on tourism and limiting the rise in prices of accommodation facilities.
The board remembered the key role of the former chairman of the board, the Late Prince Naif bin Abdul Aziz, and his efforts, his insight for the development of national tourism, and promoting the role of provinces during his chairmanship of the board, in addition to the circulars he had issued to preserve the national heritage and develop national tourism.
The Board also congratulated HRH Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense for being named as Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The board also congratulated HRH Prince Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz for being appointed Minister of Interior, and commending him for giving the opportunity to HRH President of SCTA to brief him on the project of the national tourism. HRH Prince Saud Al Faisal Minister of Foreign Affairs was congratulated for leaving the hospital after a successful surgery, commending his support to SCTA through cooperation programs between SCTA and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The board praised the resolution of the cabinet for allocating one billion and four hundred million Saudi Riyals (SR 1.4B) to lay out basic service network to Al Ogair Development Project, and also praised the approval of the cabinet of the National Strategy of Development of Handicraft and its five executive plans.
The Board expressed its appreciation to the governors of provinces for their efforts toward tourism during last summer. In this respect, the Board expressed its deepest appreciation to Their Highness Governors of Riyadh and Makkah for their agreement to chair tourism development councils in their provinces.
The Board briefed on the agreement of cooperation between SCTA and the Ministry of Labor. The agreement aims at training national human resources in order to be qualified to join tourism jobs. The board expressed its attention to contribute to the efforts of provision of added job opportunities across the Kingdom.
The steps to put in effect a Cabinet resolution on the rise of prices of tourism services was reviewed, along with the Board reviewing actual actions of the SCTA to overcome the rise of services price in tourism sector, which include increasing the size of tourism products and services against the increased tourism demand. The solutions depended on the encouragement of tourism investments in order to meet the increased demand, which will contribute to the lowering of the services prices.
The meeting reviewed a report on the latest archeological discoveries and efforts of SCTA in this respect with a number of international eminent scientific centers, national organizations, and universities in the field of survey and excavation. The meeting viewed an illustrated presentation on the latest significant discoveries across the Kingdom by 24 national and international missions.
The meeting reviewed the efforts of SCTA to develop youth tourism through promoting agreements of cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Higher Education, and the General Presidency of Youth Welfare (GPYW) in an attempt to develop youth-oriented tourism programs and to engage youth in developing tourism programs. SCTA in this respect is working with Youth Advisory Groups, which it has formed across the Kingdom. The board stressed the importance of accelerating programs, sites, and tourism services that could enhance youth engagement in national tourism.
The meeting reviewed a report on SCTA’s tendency to focus on large events, which will ensure development of tourism products, as well as enjoy a heavy turnout of the public. The board also reviewed the efforts of SCTA during the past years in the field of rehabilitating tourism events’ operators, encouraging small and medium events across municipalities and provinces.
The board was briefed on the conclusion of inspections made by a specialized committee on “The project of improvement of road rest stations along the regional highways.” The project was submitted to the government for final approval.
The meeting was briefed on the steps made in the study “The role of tourism in the development of local communities, especially in job opportunities.” The study was conducted by the SCTA in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Labor, Ministry of Economy and Planning, World Tourism Organization, and the the International Labor Organization.
The board extended its appreciation to a number of authorities and companies for their contribution to the sponsorship of SCTA’s projects and exhibitions.
The meeting approved the program of rehabilitation of historical buildings, which has been handed over to SCTA. The program includes re-employing those buildings and heritage sites, which were handed over to SCTA, to be used as handicraft centers, museums, as well as heritage inns and sites.
The Board approved SCTA’s program to rehabilitate specialized contracting and engineering offices for development and restoration works in national urban heritage. The program aims at developing works in urban heritage and providing it with qualified national manpower through classifying the contractors engaged in this field, in addition to creating jobs for local communities.
The meeting approved the National Executive Plan for urban heritage, which includes classification of heritage buildings in order to inter-link the whole element of urban heritage to each other, which forms a part and parcel of the cultural dimension of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The meeting approved the upgraded organizational structure of SCTA. Organizational chart restructuring falls within the implementation of the recommendations of the upgrading of the strategy of national tourism and as part of the performance evaluation project of SCTA, which the Commission has finalized in its first and second phase. A new organizational structure is focused on the departments that are responsible for tourism and antiquities activities through allocating four sectors to deal with development of tourism and antiquities activities, while institutional and operational activities were confined to two sectors in SCTA. The major aim of the new organizational chart is to focus on the shifting of powers to provinces in an attempt to achieve the decentralization principle.
The meeting was briefed on the latest preparations for the launch of the “Saudi Archeological Masterpieces through the Ages” exhibition in Washington, DC, in the United States of America in mid-November, 2012. Also, it was briefed on the underway preparations to move it to four other stops in different US states.
The meeting reviewed a number of upcoming activities of SCTA during the next few months, the most important of them being “Saudi Colors forum for photography,” which will be held in conjunction with World Tourism Day on September 27. Activities include the “Forum of Safety and Security of Tourism and Antiquities,” which is organized by SCTA in collaboration with the Naif Arab University for Security Sciences (NAUSS) in Riyadh next Monday and the “Second Forum of Urban Heritage in the Eastern Province” next year, in addition to the “Red Sea Antiquities Exhibition.”
The board welcomed the new officials who were recently employed in SCTA, including Dr. Walid Al Hemaidi, Vice President of SCTA for Provinces, and Dr. Ali Al Anbar, General Supervisor of the National Program for Development of Handicrafts.