Saudi Tourism

21 April 2010

Six key figures leading the development of the kingdom’s tourism sector are: Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, Fouad bin Abdulsalau al-Farsy, Prince Abdulaziz bin Majed bin Abdulaziz, Prince Khalid al-Faisal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud and Prince Mite’b bin Abdulaziz al-Saud.

Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud

Position: President, Saudi Commission for Tourism & Antiquities (SCTA)

Biography: Born in 1956, Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud is the president of the SCTA. Prince Sultan began his career as a researcher at the Information Ministry. In 1985, he joined the space shuttle Discovery as a payload specialist and became the first Arab astronaut. He also served as a pilot with the Royal Saudi Air Force, retiring as a colonel in 1995. He was appointed head of the SCTA (then the SCT) in 2000. The SCTA is responsible for developing the tourism sector in the kingdom, with a particular focus on domestic tourism. In 2003, Prince Sultan unveiled a 20-year tourism development plan, aiming to increase visitor numbers from the current 65 million to 141 million a year by 2020, and creating up to 2.3 million jobs. Prince Sultan has a master’s degree from the Syracuse University in the US.

Contact Tel: (+966) 1880 8855

Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz al-Saud

Position: Interior Minister

Biography: Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz al-Saud is the chairman of the Supreme Committee for Hajj, which implements programmes during the pilgrimage season, under the directives of the custodian of the two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud. Prince Naif also oversees the provincial governorates, public security and law enforcement, civil defence, fire prevention services, border police and domestic intelligence. He is responsible for liaising with the Mutawa (religious police) in the kingdom. Born in Taif in 1933, Prince Naif is one of the six surviving members of the Sudari seven, the sons of the kingdom’s founding former king Abdulaziz Ibn Saud and his favoured wife Hassa bint Ahmad al-Sudairi. Prince Naif was governor of Riyadh from 1953-54 and deputy interior minister from 1970, before taking over as Interior Minister in 1975.

Contact Tel: (+966) 1401 1111

Fouad bin Abdulsalau al-Farsy

Position: Hajj Minister

Biography: Fouad bin Abdulsalau al-Farsy has worked in a number of senior positions, including Information Minister from 1995 to 2003 and Culture Minister from 2003-05, before being appointed as Hajj Minister in February 2005. Religious tourism makes up 43 per cent of the Saudi travel market and it a key part of the Saudi economy. Al-Farsy’s ministry acts as the Hajj coordinating body, dealing with other ministries and authorities. The ministry recently strengthened domestic regulations requiring pilgrims to carry permits. According to the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, 1.7 million foreign pilgrims arrived in the kingdom in 2009 to perform the Hajj. The figure was slightly down on the previous year due to the outbreak of swine flu and the global recession. Al-Farsy graduated from Beirut Arab University with a degree in law. He also holds a doctorate in political science from Duke University in the US.

Contact Tel: (+966) 1557 1714

Prince Abdulaziz bin Majed bin Abdulaziz

Position: Governor of Medina

Biography: As governor of Medina, Prince Abdulaziz bin Majed bin Abdulaziz’s mandate includes promoting Mada’in Saleh, the biggest Nabatean site in the world after Petra in Jordan. The site was made a Unesco World Heritage site in 2008, the first in Saudi Arabia. In 2009, Prince Abdulaziz toured Mada’in Saleh with SCTA President Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud. He said the government will work to promote the historic site to draw in more tourists into the kingdom. Prince Abdulaziz became governor of Medina in 2005. Medina is the second-most holiest city in Islam, featuring the mosque of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), which was built on the site of his home and the place where he is buried. Medina is also a key destination for religious tourists on Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages. Prince Abdulaziz is chairman of the Hajj committee in Medina.

Contact Tel: (+966) 80044 20013

Prince Khalid al-Faisal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud

Position: Governor of Mecca

Biography: Prince Khalid al-Faisal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud is the governor of Mecca province, which includes Islam’s holiest city well as Saudi Arabia’s principle seaport and second city, Jeddah. Prince Khalid was appointed governor in May 2007, having previously served as governor of the Asir province in the south-west of the kingdom from 1971 to 2007. As Mecca governor, Prince Khalid chairs the inter-agency Central Hajj Committee, which coordinates services along with the Hajj Ministry. Prince Khalid has a degree in political economy from the UK’s Oxford University and is also director-general of the King Faisal Foundation, one of the world’s largest charitable foundations in the world. He was born in 1941. In October 2009, Prince Khalid and Prince Sultan opened Saudi Arabia’s first international boat show to boost domestic tourism in the region.

Contact Tel: (+966) 2572 2727

Prince Mite’b bin Abdulaziz al-Saud

Position: Municipal & Rural Affairs Minister

Biography: Born in 1931, Prince Mite’b bin Abdulaziz al-Saud has been Municipal and Rural Affairs Ministersince May 2003. Prior to this, Prince Mite’b was governor of Mecca, deputy minister of defence and aviation, and Minister of housing and public works between 1975 and 2003. In its report on tourism investment in Saudi Arabia, the SCTA said the ministry will play a main role in identifying tourism areas and developing tourism projects, as well as investing in and using archaeological sites. The ministry is responsible for urban planning for the kingdom’s cities, landscaping and development of municipal and rural affairs, and management of environmental services. Prince Mite’b studied religion, economics and politics. Prince Mite’b is also chairman of the Commission for Development of Mecca, Medina and other religious sites within the kingdom.

Contact Tel: (+966) 1441 5434

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