Supreme Commission for Tourism and Antiquities

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Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities
Founded 2000
Headquarters Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Key people
Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) (Arabic: الـهـيــئة العـامـة للسيــاحة والآثــار ) is state-run organization, devoted for developing tourism sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with particular focus on encouraging and supporting domestic tourism through sponsoring and conducting tourism events across the country.

Saudi Council of Ministers on 12/01/1421, corresponding to 16/04/2000, issued, Resolution No. (9), to establish Supreme Commission for Tourism, emphasizing that the tourism activity is one of the productive sectors in enduring the Saudi tourists within the country, increasing opportunities for investment, development of human potential and expansion and creation of new employment opportunities for Saudi citizens.

In view of the importance of Antiquities and Museums, a Royal decree No. (2/A) dated 28/02/1424, corresponding to 30/04/2003, was issued to integrate Antiquities and Museums Agency into the Supreme Commission for Tourism, accordingly, SCT came into being as a body responsible for the implementation of these tasks in addition to the responsibility for Tourism.

The Council of Ministers on 16/03/1429, corresponding to 23/03/2008, issued a new Resolution No. 78, according to which, the name of Supreme Commission for Tourism (SCT) was changed to Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), with the confirmation that the domestic tourism is a reality that requires the formation of a national authority responsible for its planning and development due to the following distinct components of the Kingdom.[1]

Tourism as an initiative for economy reformation[edit]

Tourism is one of the most significant initiatives of economic and administrative reformation that was adopted by the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia within a planned intensive reformation program. And an economic restructure for overcoming development obstacles. All of which included in the Saudi Cabinet resolution No., (9) dated 17/04/2000 on "considering tourism as productive sector aiming at convincing the Saudi tourist to spend his vacation inside the Kingdom". Besides increasing investment opportunities, developing and upgrading national human resources. Accordingly, tourism development is considered a national economic project.


Supreme Commission of Tourism (SCT) was founded in 2000, as body corporate. Article three of SCT's statute stated that, SCT's purposes and responsibilities are "concerning on tourism in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia" to develop, upgrade and enhance tourism sector as well as overcoming growth obstacles, taking into account that tourism is considered an important tributary for national economy. The private sector is undertaking key role into establishing tourism investment facilities. SCT is run by a board of directors; its membership includes 11 ministers, in addition to the Secretary General of SCT and representatives from other two ministries, the thing that forms higher representation of public bodies related to tourism industry activities and affairs. The board of directors is also includes other seven members who represent social and private sectors. The Secretary General of SCT is assigned to manage the executive affairs of SCT through Secretariat General Department. After then the Saudi Cabinet issued the foundation resolution No., (9), dated 16 April 2000, in which it declared the establishment of the Supreme Commission of Tourism (SCT), confirming that, tourism is an economic sector with its major goal to convince Saudi tourist to spend his vacation inside the country, increasing investment opportunities, national human resource development, and create job opportunities for Saudi citizen. Taking into account the particular importance of museums and antiquities, the Royal decree No. 2/a dated 30/04/2003, was issued, providing that "attaching Museums and Antiquities Agency to SCT" accordingly, SCT will be authorized to run antiquities duties as well as tourism sector affairs. Followed by the Cabinet's Resolution No. (78) Dated 23/03/2008, in which was announced the adopted new name of the organization as:(Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), confirming that domestic tourism is a 'national reality' requiring public authorities to work for its planning, development, and upgrading based on its unique tourism potentials.


To concern of Saudi tourism through organization, development and promotion, to enhance the role of tourism sector, overcoming growth obstacles as this sector is considered an important tributary of the national economy. All of which must comply with the noble position and values of the Kingdom. The goal is also meant to concern the antiquities and preserving them and to increase their contribution in the cultural and economic development process as well as concerning on museums, and to uplift archeological works in the Kingdom in general, while private sector is assuming the major role by establishing tourism investment facilities.

Mission and vision[edit]

The future vision of The Kingdom regarding tourism sector, is based on the following themes "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as the land of Islam, seeks for variable and distinguished tourism development, with social, cultural, environmental and economic benefits in the framework of its Islamic values and genuine traditional hospitality". To achieve this vision, SCTA has committed itself to the following major tasks: "to achieve sustainable and balanced tourism development, to achieve economic diversity and social enrichment, to create job opportunities and to preserve environment and cultural originality.


A special logo of SCTA was developed, which by itself, is an interesting episode. The logo that was adopted by the body to be a sign of the institution together with its activity has a story behind the success of the other process in the preparation of the logo. The process witnessed a solid drive similar to development in tourism industry itself. The process included assigning this task to a specialized institution, in this context SCTA has appointed panel of experts on marketing and advertising to comprehend the body from within, visiting the different regions of the Kingdom, and observing tourism industry closely, this approach was the key factor in the development of this unique emblem. The logo with its expressive colors and symbolizing angles is not of an individual concept, or attempts to describe a specific activity. Rather it is an open work of art with multiple readings and meanings, which is describing the same entity across several bright and harmonious expression of a modern enterprise. Spectrum of colors describe the embodiment of its dynamism and decision making, while the curved lines symbolize the intricate nature of the tourism industry itself and principle of partnership between concerned authorities that are approved by the government in the development of tourism industry. The harmonious lines converge to form a palm tree (a sign of generosity and hospitality) and the pair of crossing swards (signify authenticity, originality and heritage), reflecting the singularity and the brevity of the official institution of modern Saudi Arabia. At the same time it is symbolizing the colors of the rainbow as a ceremonial and geographical diversity and the wealth of rich environments and the biodiversity in the Kingdom. The heritage and originality of Saudi Arabia with different social and hereditary customs in different regions are represented in the logo with thirteen angles forming the main logo, the Palm tree. In fact there are thirteen regions of the Kingdom with attractive, rich and unique tourism activities. The method of drawing lines that move about without a return to a single point, indicates decentralization of authority in the nascent organization, but the spontaneous flow of work and the participation of players without a central hold that would delay or impede the achievement of progress. Probably, invention of (Zohair Fonts) by the commission, its use in writing the name of the regions in the logo, and making it as the identity of the Commission and its use in the main headings of the various publications, implies the attention commission is paid to return this heritage practice into a refined modern style. It also emphasizes the adherence to the old style, but it adds developmental touches and openness. This font represents a method of writing in the oldest Islamic inscription found in the Arabian Peninsula during the era of the Prophet’s honorable companions and thus derives its originality from Arabic and Islamic heritage and cultural distinction and became a mark for expressing the Commission’s identity and loyalty. Thus it confirms here that, the theme of the logo of the Commission is open to multiple readings and meanings.

SCTA Prospective Role[edit]

The approval of the government to SCTA's foundation reflects the government's belief on the importance of creating an effective government body to undertake national management of tourism in the Kingdom. According to this decision, SCTA has become the official body through which the government supervises progress in tourism sector development across the Kingdom. Given that, tourism industry in the Kingdom was scattered, fragmented besides its responsibilities were divided throughout various bodies in public and private sectors, has required from SCTA in the beginning to undertake a leading role to incubate and adopt this industry on scientific fundamentals through providing clear vision on national and provincial levels. Besides creating institutional restructure of tourism and building effective partnership with public and private sectors. Develop necessary tourism regulations for organizing its work and providing stimulant climate for tourism investment. Such leading role is considered very necessary for organizing this nascent industry and tightening its components during first years of its age. Therefore, SCTA's vision for the first five years could be summarized in the role of 'tourism industry developer', and as incubator to it through what was called "an intensive care period", a period in which the industry will be radically restructured and organized. SCTA gradually performed the task of tourism development supervisor, coordinator and director. It was clear for SCTA, since its foundation as government institution, that its role was not limited on supervising tourism industry development only. That because this industry, especially in the Kingdom, in dire need of establishment, organization and preparation as usually any new economic projects requires. These tasks, which have dominated most SCTA's efforts till now, represent a long-term key investment. Once tourism industry organization and restructure tasks in the Kingdom were concluded, SCTA will be able to practice its prospective role towards supervising tourism development through undertaking national tourism management tasks regarding organization, quality control, marketing as well as developing tourism products. SCTA's prospective effort as concerned government authority, is adopting a moderate manner allows it gradually or finally to abandon several roles that it could be performed by another government authorities, private sector or local communities. This would give great flexibility to SCTA for distributing these roles in order to develop tourism industry in high efficiency and decentralization manner enables it to achieve the prospective growth. Within its efforts to establish tourism industry in the Kingdom, SCTA was keen to classify tourism responsibilities and to share them with relevant ministries and authorities. So that, in this respect, SCTA has to assume major direct responsibilities of tourism industry as well as assuming shared responsibilities of tourism that are overlapping with other government authorities. In addition to provide support and assistance to all areas that connected to tourism sector operated by other government authorities.

SCTA's integrated program for development of national tourism[edit]

In the framework of SCTA to interpret the government's trend into concrete actions regarding formation and economic restructure, SCTA has carried out the following duties; Adopt comprehensive scientific terminology for planning and executing the national economic project for tourism development in the Kingdom within twenty years. The project includes general strategy for developing tourism sector as well as executive plan and provincial tourism development strategy. Lay out and execute integrated program of tourism development which included till now more than 125 projects and programs. This project falls under key initiatives, comprehensive development plan, besides the government's plans towards economic and administrative development. These initiatives represent an integrated program for executing SCTA's tasks, as well as actual practice of necessary measurements to address the challenges and overcome social, institutional, organizational, administrative, financial, and investment obstacles that are facing tourism development, which should be carried out through detailed and integrated executive plans to be implemented strictly according to a timetable. SCTA is looking forward to greatly benefit from its programs as well as from its core initiatives on government level in order to achieve an important quality shift in government institutions performance contributing to the achievement of comprehensive development in all sectors.

National tourism development project[edit]

Since March, 2001, SCTA, simultaneously with institutional structuring 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 SCTA's vision for the importance of strategic planning for achieving goals as well as raising economic, organizational and administrative capabilities. This comprehensive planning of project in its third stage has paid off in preparing the General Strategy of National Tourism Development, the fifth executive plan (intensive care phase), and 13 provincial strategies for tourism development.

MAS Centre[edit]

Mas Logo

MAS is the Arabic acronym for Tourism Information and Research Center, It is an important department of the SCTA responsible for collecting tourism data and conducting research and related studies.

According to the Article 4, paragraph 3, of the SCTA 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. The Centre was established in the year 1423 H (2002 AD).[2]

Provincial Tourism Organizations (PTOs)[edit]

There are 17 SCTA Provincial Branches:

  • SCTA Hail Branch
  • SCTA Al-Baha Branch
  • SCTA Aseer Branch
  • SCTA Al-Taif Branch
  • SCTA Al-Madinah Branch
  • SCTA Tabuk Branch
  • SCTA Jeddah Branch
  • SCTA Makkah Branch
  • SCTA Jazan Branch
  • SCTA Al-Qassim Branch
  • SCTA Riyadh Branch
  • SCTA Najran Branch
  • SCTA Al-Ahsa Branch
  • SCTA Eastern Province Branch
  • SCTA Al-Kharj Branch
  • SCTA Al-Jouf Branch
  • SCTA Northern Borders Branch

See also[edit]


External links[edit]