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Published on : Friday, November 8, 2013
London—It seems the Middle East has a special focus on the World Travel Mart (WTM) this year. London’s World Travel Market (WTM) exhibition marked another historic year for travel and tourism this week, and was attended by industry giants and international leaders, including President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), Prince Sultan Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz.
Among the events was the UN’s World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and WTM Ministers’ Summit, held at ExCeL London on Tuesday. SCTA President Prince Sultan Bin Salman led the Kingdom’s delegation to the 5th session of the Ministers of Tourism of Group of Twenty, known as the T20.
“We are pleased to join in discussions on the global efforts of the T20 in developing visa processes, considering that Saudi Arabians, among the group, travel abroad most frequently relative to the total population,” said Prince Sultan.
The Prince also discussed his plans to boost domestic tourism, both to the holy sites and other historical sites distinguished by UNESCO. He affirmed that Saudi Arabia’s tourist sector continues to witness growth and development under the auspices of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz.
“Our country enjoys the benefits of resources, which are being used in its development and in the service of its citizens,” said Prince Sultan.
He confirmed that tourism is a major contributor to Saudi Arabia’s economy, adding that it has been classified as an essential services sector in the global economy.
“Saudi Arabia, where the Two Holy Mosques are located, is a major travel destination for Arabs and Muslims around the world,” Prince Sultan said.
Travel and tourism in Saudi Arabia has witnessed promising growth over the last few years.
Saudi Arabia annually hosts more than 10 million pilgrims for Hajj and Umra. The total number of Hajj pilgrims rose by 6 per cent in 2012, while infrastructure projects, such as the Mecca Metro, will ensure that this continues to grow.