The Arab tourism sector has recorded a $ 15 billion loss as a result of the Arab Spring, in addition to the loss of around 10 million tourists, according to Bandar Al-Fuhaid, director of the Arab Tourism Organization (ATO).
“We expect that global expenditure on tourism will be around $ 570 billion and provide more than 450 million jobs. We also expect that there will be more than 1 billion international tourist arrivals worldwide by the end of the year,” he said.
“Many people have lost their jobs in the tourism sector as a result of the Arab Spring. This has prompted the ATO to hold conferences in an attempt to arrive at solutions to cut losses in the sector,” he said.
A number of activities were announced on the sidelines of the visit of Mamdouh Aquz, governor of Isparta in Turkey, to the city of Taif. These include an agreement between Turkey and Saudi Arabia to initiate training and educational exchange programs. In addition, Isparta will provide training in the production of rosewater.
“At the beginning, we will invite 10 investors to be trained in the latest technology for the production of rosewater. There are 5 million domestic tourists who visit Isparta every year and we hope that we can get the same number of international tourists,” he said.
“Cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Turkey will not be confined to the rosewater industry. There is also a project in aviation, with a budget of 30 million euros. Another project in the pipeline is to guarantee investments launched by the Islamic Development Bank to protect investor rights in case of political crisis,” he said.
“Saudi Arabia sees investment in Turkey as a strategic step,” he concluded.