Thursday 18 July 2024

Daniel MacGregor

How Saudi infrastructure development can match the tourism boom

, 15 days ago

With Saudi Arabia setting a new goal to attract 150 million visitors over the next six years, having achieved ahead of schedule the target of ‘100 million visitors by 2030’, there is a need to increase the pace of developing giga projects and tourism destinations in the kingdom, a top official of Serco Middle East, has said.

The kingdom’s tourism sector is accelerating, and the announcement of major events like the Riyadh Expo 2030 and the bid to host the FIFA 2034 World Cup are just some of the examples that underscore how seriously Saudi is taking its commitment to opening its doors to international visitors, said Daniel MacGregor, Chief Growth Officer, Serco Middle East.

Serco provides services in areas of asset management, facilities maintenance and operations as well as core operational services such as security, cleaning, pest control and waste management.

The crux of the work that needs to be done is being ready for international tourists coming from new markets, with varied backgrounds and en masse to such events, must be completed ahead of the events themselves, said MacGregor.

MacGregor says why there is an urgent need for Saudi to accelerate the pace of infrastructure development, and how to cater for the tourism boom that lies ahead.

Preparations will need to include, for example, transformations to the airport infrastructure, which will function as the ‘shop window’ as it were, working as the gateway and delivering a vital first impression to millions of people as they first enter the country.

Whilst the pace of transformation in Saudi is evident, the tourism boom has upped the ante on the need for speed in developing giga projects and tourism destinations in Saudi.

The good news is that these areas, while set to cater to a diverse set of tourists needs – be that sport, entertainment or cultural experiences, also have their own distinct contributions to make to the kingdom’s economy and society.

NEOM, promises to be a hub for innovation; the Red Sea Development project is expected to contribute significantly to the kingdom's GDP, creating thousands of jobs, and positioning Saudi Arabia as a top-tier sustainable travel destination.

Whilst the creation of King Salman Park highlights the 360-view that Saudi is taking towards its Vision 2030 progress, there needs to be a focus on creating green liveable spaces that contribute to the overall happiness of those who both live in Saudi and of course those who pass through as visitors.

To accelerate progress, the collaboration between the public and private sectors is vital. The government’s commitment to forging these partnerships is evident enough through the substantial investments and regulatory reforms that are being implemented, which are designed to facilitate business operations.

These collaborations are essential for injecting innovation, efficiency, and both global and local expertise into the tourism sector, ensuring that the developments are not only world-class but also sustainable and economically viable.

By working hand in hand, business has a major role to play in supporting the government to not only achieve their already ambitious tourism targets, but they can help the government set up Saudi for long-term future success on the tourism stage.

These developments are backed by reports from the Ministry of Interior at the recent UK Saudi Sustainable Infrastructure Summit that the kingdom is ‘more than halfway through’ the delivery of Vision 2030, with statements indicating that it is ‘ahead of schedule in all aspects of implementation.’ – TradeArabia News Service





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