Elaf Group has announced that it expects the tourism and travel sector for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to perform well in 2008, based on the remarkable economic growth achieved by the Kingdom in recent years.
Elaf pointed to reports and surveys affirming an economic boom throughout the Gulf due to high oil prices, which in turn have boosted the volume of private and public investments in religious and leisure tourism; infrastructure; and real estate. The KSA has benefited significantly from this trend as it has the appropriate cultural, educational, and social foundations to attract both regional and international tourists.
Ziyad Ahmed Bin Mahfouz, recently appointed Elaf Group’s CEO by the Saudi Economic and Development Company “SEDCO”, said: “Tourism generates several job opportunities in the KSA and 12 per cent of work prospects throughout the world. It is also a major investment attraction, which is what we want to take advantage of. We have various hotels in Jeddah, Riyadh, Abha and Najran, which have contributed in raising nationalization rates from 30% to 60% per cent in the upcoming 3 years.”
“Elaf will focus its strategy on leveraging the emergence of tourism as an important economic sector for Saudi Arabia and the world; we are particularly interested in advancing religious tourism. We will develop domestic and international services that will cater to the unique needs of tourists who wish to visit the Kingdom for religious reasons through our offices in Egypt, Morocco, Turkey and the United Kingdom,” added Bin Mahfouz.
“Our successful efforts to find the right marketing strategy for the KSA tourism sector, especially its religious niche, helped the industry generate SAR 7.6 billion in revenues in 2007. Our team continues to provide high quality personalized services to our local and international clients as we sustain efforts to introduce the KSA’s unique brand of tourism to new markets.” Said Tarek Hashem Nabulsi, Deputy CEO of Elaf Group
The KSA’s tourism sector is also enhancing its leisure segment, with emphasis on the domestic market. The industry currently offers various summer programs such as sports competitions highlighted by an annual soccer championship featuring first-class clubs from Arab and European leagues. There are also poetry competitions held in cafés and during festivals; and various educational, cultural and religious activities such as free religious classes to interested travelers.
“We are committed to implement ambitious plans that will complement the KSA Government’s strategies to further encourage domestic tourism and enhance the overall travel sector. We are pleased to observe that several local companies have signed various agreements and commercial deals related to the promotion and marketing of the Kingdom’s travel and tourism sector,” concluded Bin Mahfouz.