Saudi plans to boost tour guide employment to meet tourism demand

Published: 15 October 2020 - 11:45 a.m.
By: Josh Corder
Saudi Arabia’s wide-scale Saudi Vision 2030 just got even wider, as officials announce a plan to employ 13,000 tour guides within a decade.

Speaking to Jeddah-based paper Okaz, Saudi Tourism Guidance Association chairman Sattam Al Balwi said the guides will provide service to around 20 percent of the 100 million visitors expected in the Kingdom by 2030.

Currently, the nation employs around 900 tour guides, up from 600 just two years prior. Though as the Kingdom continues to build up its leisure tourism market, the need for more tour guides is mounting.

Al Balawi told Okaz that Asir region is leading the Saudi summer season this year on turnout. He said Asir had the lion’s share in the number of tourists, attracted by destinations including Tabuk, Al Wajh, Umluj and Yanbu. These destinations are expected to attract more visitors in the coming years, meaning more guides will be needed.

Tour guides in the Kingdom often enjoy a sizable daily rate, with some making between 1,000 and 1,500 riyals, while others get between 300 and 500 riyals. Al Balawi attributed the high wages of the guides to the small number of them and the modest number of trips right now.

The Saudi Vision 2030 is expected to revamp all corners of the Kingdom, with tourism and travel being one of the main economic drivers. Within the next 10 years, tourism is expected to contribute 10 percent of the country’s overall GDP, as well as generate one million new jobs.

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