RIYADH: Nine out of ten young Saudis surveyed in a new study revealed they would be keen on a job in the tourism and hospitality sectors, compared to 77 percent who said they were interested in a job in petrochemicals.
The results, based on more than 850 face-to-face interviews and compiled as part of research commissioned by The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC), are welcome news for Saudi officials and their ambitions for Vision 2030, which aims to diversify the Kingdom’s economy and reduce reliance on revenue from hydrocarbons.
“We are only at the beginning of Saudi Arabia’s exciting transition to a new and diversified economy and future generations have a chance to play their part,” said John Pagano, CEO of TRSDC.
“A career in tourism or hospitality offers a range of opportunities like no other. From managing an international hotel group to becoming an entrepreneur, the sector has something for everyone. TRSDC is at the heart of this emerging industry and once completed our destination will support 70,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs providing opportunities to people throughout the country,” he added.
Interestingly, the study found that young Saudis and their parents acknowledge the role that tourism and hospitality will play in the country’s new diversified economy, with 69 percent and 59 percent respectively believing the sectors will become more important for the Saudi economy over the next 10 years.
They are also optimistic that these roles will be a key driver of employment for Saudi nationals, with 69 percent of young Saudis believing that expanding tourism and hospitality industries would provide jobs for the Kingdom’s citizens.
TRSDC is a closed joint-stock company wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF). This year, TRSDC has signed more than 500 contracts for a total value of $2 billion, of which 70 percent were awarded to Saudi companies.
The company started work in February 2019 on the Red Sea Project, which is developing 22 islands in the archipelago of more than 90 islands.
Echoing the company’s Saudi youth study, Ahmed Ghazi Darwish, chief of staff at TRSDC, told Argaam that tourism will be the second important sector after oil for creating jobs. “Job opportunities account for 10 percent of the global tourism industry, compared to 3.4 percent in the Kingdom, thanks to Umrah and Hajj seasons,” he said.