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SCTA receives approval for new tourism regulations

Saudi Arabia’s new tourism regulations, proposed by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), have been approved by the Cabinet.

The new regulations, which aim to streamline the facilities and services related to tourism in general and to guide activities besides protecting tourist interests, will also enhance the SCTA’s role in the tourism sector, a report in the Arab News said.

The new guidelines specify that general tourism locations such as beaches are protected sites owned by the government where the state can make direct investments for tourism development or by leasing to the private sector through auctions.

Furthermore, the SCTA is authorised to make suggestions for the development of any government-owned land by the private sector following the approval of the relevant authorities, the report said.

The new rules also authorise the SCTA to lay down criteria to regulate tourism events, and develop, support and promote them for marine, agricultural, health, medical, business or wildlife tourism and others.

The SCTA can also determine the criteria for the publication of any printed or electronic material including articles, books, maps, guide books, pictures or posters to promote tourism. Tourism executives planning to undertake tourism services such as providing accommodation facilities, organize tours, set up tour and travel agencies, open offices for reservation and marketing of tourist accommodation or supplying tourist guide service must obtain a license from the SCTA after meeting the conditions and providing the necessary guarantees specified in the new regulations.

Additionally, businessmen dealing in tourism and tour operators will have to register all details about their employees with the SCTA and update the data every three months, it said.

All private education and training institutes that conduct tourism related programmes are required to adhere to the standards laid down by the SCTA.

Information related to the kingdom’s tourism sector will be compiled by the committee in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior.

The new system has to be implemented by all businessmen and operators in the tourism service sector within a year.

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