The Aseer Investment Forum kicked off on Saturday in southern Saudi Arabia, to promote investments and highlight the opportunities available in this particular Saudi region, which the government seeks to turn into one of the prominent tourism destinations on the global map.
The Public Investment Fund (PIF) had announced the launch of the Aseer Investment Company – an investment arm of the fund in the Aseer region – with the aim of stimulating direct local and international investments to develop the region and turn it into a global tourist destination.
A statement by the PIF noted that the new company would work to launch various opportunities for local and international investors in many sectors, including tourism and hospitality, health and sports, education, food and other promising fields.
It aims at contributing to building partnerships with the private sector and creating job opportunities for the residents.
Prince Turki bin Talal bin Abdulaziz, governor of the Aseer region and head of the region’s development authority, said that the forum would seek to achieve the objectives of the National Investment Strategy, by attracting investments in promising qualitative sectors, which will in turn stimulate direct local and international investments to develop the region.
For his part, Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khatib underlined the government’s interest to promote investments and exploit available opportunities to raise the contribution of the tourism sector from 3 to 10 percent of the country’s GDP.
He added that the launch of the Aseer Strategy has helped the ministry implement many of its initiatives and projects to develop the sector, and work to promote tourism in the region locally and internationally.
Al-Khatib noted that the Kingdom has allocated 450 million riyals to train and qualify 100,000 young Saudi men and women to work in the tourism sector.
For his part, Minister of Investment Eng. Khaled Al-Falih noted that his ministry was seeking to support economic projects in the Aseer region, encourage businessmen to establish service and tourism projects, and stimulate the level of investment, through the system of privatization and partnerships between the private and government sectors.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, Zurab Pololikashvili, pointed to the qualitative leaps achieved by the Kingdom in the tourism sector and the development of tourist destinations.
He also emphasized Saudi Arabia’s environmental diversity that qualifies it to be a global tourist destination.
The forum, which is currently held at King Khalid University in Abha, highlighted the investment opportunities in economic sectors in the Aseer region, through workshops that touched on culture, heritage, sports, entertainment, hospitality, agricultural tourism, and the food and beverage sector.
Organized by the Aseer Region Development Authority and the ministries of Investment and Tourism, the forum follows the 22nd Global Summit of the World Travel and Tourism Council, which convened in Riyadh from Nov.28 till Dec. 1.