Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage
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|Headquarters||Riyadh, Saudi Arabia|
|Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud|
Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) (Arabic: الـهـيــئة العـامـة للسيــاحة والتـراث الـوطنـي ) is a governmental body concerned with tourism and national heritage of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is focused on encouraging and supporting domestic tourism through sponsoring and conducting tourism events across the country and overcoming obstacles to growth of tourism.
SCTH foundation has passed through several stages before reaching to its current structure by becoming the only public administration authorized and responsible for tourism and national heritage in the Kingdom. These stages are as follows:
- On 12/01/1421 AH, (16/04/2000), Saudi Council of Ministers issued Resolution No. (9), approving the establishment of “Supreme Commission for Tourism” (SCT), stressing that tourism is one of the major productive sectors in retaining Saudi tourist within the country and increase investment opportunities, developing national human resources, and expanding and creating new job opportunities for the Saudi nationals.
- Given the importance of Antiquities and Museums, a Royal decree No. (2/A) dated 28/02/1424 AH ( 30/04/2003), was issued to integrate Antiquities and Museums agency into SCT, accordingly, SCTA came into existence as a body responsible for implementing these tasks in addition to its responsibility for tourism.
- The Council of Ministers on 16/03/1429 AH (23/03/2008) issued a fresh Resolution No. (78), according to which, the name of “Supreme Commission for Tourism” (SCT) was changed to the “Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities” (SCTA), emphasizing that the tourism sector in the Kingdom has become a national reality behind which stands the State, and it requires the formation of a national authority to carry out its planning and development due to many touristic features available in the Kingdom, some of which are:
- Huge archaeological treasure, rare historic sites, and historical museums, all linking the Kingdom to many ancient civilizations.
- The unique geographical location of the Kingdom, its expanse and diverse terrains with a variety of climate and stunning landscapes.
- Long seacoasts along the shores of Red Sea and the Persian Gulf.
- Unique customs and traditions of the Saudi society and the authentic generosity and hospitality of the Saudi citizens.
- Modern infrastructure with advanced services and government's strong tendency towards development of tourism sector.
- Confirmed security and political stability in the kingdom, a robust economy and progressive society.
- On Monday, 12/9/1436 AH (29/6/2015), the Cabinet decided to change the name of “Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities” (SCTA) to “Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage” (SCTH).
From the outset, the main objective of the establishment of SCTH has been to pay attention to all aspects of the tourism sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with respect to its organization, development, and promotion. SCTH is also assigned to work for strengthening of the role of tourism and overcoming barriers impeding its growth, given the Kingdom's huge tourism potential. Its efforts include preservation, development and maintenance of antiquities and activation of tourism’s contribution to cultural and economic development.
SCTH's integrated program for the development of national tourism
In an effort to translate government’s reform and economic restructuring to reality, SCTH has carried out the following tasks:
- Adopted a comprehensive scientific methodology in the project of planning and implementation of the national development of tourism in the past twenty years. The project includes overall strategy for the development of tourism as well as, operational plan and strategies for tourism development in the regions.
- Planned and implemented integrated program for tourism development, which so far has included more than 125 projects and programs. This program is consistent with the overall development plans, ambitions and directions of the State’s administrative and economic development.
- These initiatives represent an integrated program for the implementation of SCTH tasks, as well as the actual practice of measurements needed to meet challenges and overcome the social, institutional, organizational, administrative, financial, and investment obstacles through detailed operational plans performed according to the timeline
- SCTH is looking to take advantage of the program, and the content covered by the initiatives at the State level in order to achieve a qualitative leap in the performance of important institutions of the State and its various organs, and contribute to the overall development of various sectors.
National tourism development project
Since March 2001, SCTH, simultaneously with its restructuring process, has planned for integrated national economic project, aiming at developing tourism in the Kingdom during the next twenty years. This comes in the light of its vision on the importance of strategic planning for goals and raise economic efficiency and management.
This comprehensive planning project in its third stage has paid off in the preparation of General Strategy of National Tourism Development, the fifth executive plan (intensive care phase), and 13 provincial strategies for tourism development.
SCTH Provincial Branches
SCTH has 17 Provincial Branches:
- SCTH Riyadh Branch
- SCTH Hail Branch
- SCTH Al-Baha Branch
- SCTH Asir Branch
- SCTH Jeddah Branch
- SCTH Al-Taif Branch
- SCTH Al Madina Branch
- SCTH Tabuk Branch
- SCTA Makkah Branch
- SCTH Jazan Branch
- SCTH Al-Qassim Branch
- SCTH Najran Branch
- SCTH Al-Ahsa Branch
- SCTH Eastern Province Branch
- SCTH Al-Kharj Branch
- SCTH Al-Jouf Branch
- SCTH Northern Borders Branch
MAS is the Arabic acronym for Tourism Information and Research Center, It is an important department of the SCTH responsible for collecting tourism data and conducting researches and related studies. According to the Article 4, paragraph 3, of the SCTH statute, a Tourism Information and Research Centre shall be established to develop and promote tourism, and to issue tourism publications in coordination with the concerned parties. Accordingly, in 2002 the Centre was established .