Monday, September 20, 2021

Saudi Arabia launches US$530 million fund to develop tourism destinations

Saudi Arabia’s Tourism Development Fund (TDF), in partnership with Riyad Bank, has launched a new Tourism Partners program, allocating a funding capital of up to SAR(س )2 billion to enable the development of the Kingdom’s key destinations.

As advised in a statement, the program is a first of its kind where public and private sector work collaboratively against individual performance indicators on each side, ensuring the highest standards of governance to achieve the objectives of the program.

TDF introduced three products under the program that aim to address the financing needs of companies of all sizes in the private sector and enable the development of tourism facilities and activities across the kingdom.

Each product provides a value of funding ranging from SAR1 million to more than SR100 million for mega projects, with options varying between direct support from TDF and co-financing with Riyad Bank, in addition to providing guarantees of up to 90 percent.

Tourism Partners complements the Shareek initiative launched by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to enhance the private sector’s role in the sustainable growth of the national economy.

TDF Chief Executive, Qusai Al-Fakhri advised “an attractive investment environment enhances investors’ appetite for tourism projects, which in turn helps drive the tourism sector. TDF’s primary role as the tourism investor’s partner is to provide financing solutions that overcome barriers to mobilise investments and help investors achieve their goals.

“Through this partnership, TDF paves the way for private companies, including small and medium-sized companies, to harness the massive opportunities in tourism.”

The program will enable the development of up to 113 tourism projects across the kingdom, targeting seven destinations identified by the National Tourism Strategy.

Saudi Arabia now open to international travellers
Saudi Arabia has also reopened its doors to vaccinated international visitors as of 1st August 2021.

With low COVID-19 levels and extensive protocols in place to protect the health of visitors and their families, travellers will need to provide evidence of a full course of one the four vaccines currently recognized: two doses of the Oxford/Astra Zeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines or a single dose of the vaccine produced by Johnson and Johnson.

According to data on the Worldometers website, which gathers data from accredited sources worldwide, Saudi Arabia has recorded a little over 14,700 Coronavirus cases per million people in the population, below the global average of 25,153 cases per million and significantly below many of the world’s traditional tourism hotspots.

Saudi Arabia has opened a web portal at https://muqeem.sa/#/vaccine-registration/home for visitors to register their vaccination status. The site is available in Arabic and English.

Images: Historic Nabataeans remains at Hegra in AlUla (top) and the Jeddah Corniche (below).

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