Princess Haifa Al Saud appointed Saudi Arabia's deputy minister of tourism

Royal has years of experience in business and tourism world

Princess Haifa Al Saud has been appointed Saudi Arabia’s deputy minister of tourism. AP
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Princess Haifa Al Saud has been appointed Saudi Arabia’s deputy minister of tourism.

The news was confirmed by the Saudi Press Agency on Sunday.

Princess Haifa told of her happiness at taking on the role on social media.

“I extend my highest thanks and gratitude to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and His Highness, the Crown Prince - may God preserve them - for the generous trust in appointing me as Deputy Minister of Tourism, asking God Almighty to grant me his help and success to achieve the aspirations of our wise leadership,” she said on her Twitter page.

Her appointment comes amid a long-standing tourism drive, focused on bringing major sporting and music events to the country.

In December 2021, Princess Haifa said the Kingdom would host up to 600 per cent more music events from this year.

"People used to travel for nature, and then they started to travel for culture and now it’s about lifestyle," she said at the time.

“It's about meeting other like-minded people from across the globe and sharing what they are passionate about. The creative industries, such as music, is at the very heart of that,” she said.

Saudi's Riyadh Season, which was held from October 2021 to March, was integral to this push, with dozens of concerts held.

A reported crowd of 750,000 people congregated in the Saudi capital's central boulevard district to attend the opening ceremony that had a parade and a performance by Cuban-American rapper Pitbull.

Saudi Arabia is seeking to boost its non-oil revenues under its Vision 2030 plan, centred on a series of multibillion-dollar projects aimed at putting Saudi Arabia on the map for innovation, tech and youth-driven initiatives.

Saudi tourism industry to set Middle East pace

The World Travel and Tourism Council said Saudi Arabia's tourism and travel sector is set to surge at an average of 11 per cent per year for the next decade, making it the fast growing in the Middle East.

By 2032, the travel and tourism sector’s contribution to GDP could approach 635 billion riyals, representing 17.1 per cent of the total economy.

The council forecasts employment in the sector could double in the next 10 years, creating more than 1.4 million jobs, bringing the number of jobs to nearly 3 million.

The projections for both employment and the sector’s contribution to the Kingdom's economy, surpass the goals set out by the government’s Vision 2030 strategic framework.

Princess Haifa key to tourism push

Princess Haifa had previously served on the board of directors of the General Authority of Civil Aviation as a representative of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage.

She obtained her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of New Haven, US, in 2008, and her master’s in business administration and management from the London Business School in 2017.

She began her career at HSBC Holdings as an analyst, progressing to the role of senior associate of equity sales before leaving in 2012 to join the Ministry of Higher Education as a senior consultant.

She was also named as managing director of the General Sports Authority between 2017 and 2019, with a remit to develop the sports economy. She became secretary general of Formula E Holdings in July 2018.

Princess Haifa has also held the role of vice president of strategy at the SCTH since March 2019. Among her many titles is the position of vice chairwoman of the Saudi Fencing Federation, as well as chairwoman of the women’s committee at the Arab Fencing Federation.

Her passion for fencing prompted her to take on a greater role in supporting the growth of the sport and encouraging female participation.

There are now more than 200 women in Saudi Arabia's national fencing squad.

She is an advocate for a number of causes, serving as a founding member of the Empowerment Hub, a nonprofit organisation launched in 2014 which seeks to raise awareness on issues relating to women’s health.

Princess Haifa recently spoke at the World Economic Forum in her role as the country’s assistant minister of tourism, telling of the country's success in drawing in international visitors.

Saudi Arabia rose 10 places in the WEF 2021 Travel and Tourism Development Index, which ranks the sustainable and resilient development of the sector.

Only the UAE ranked higher in the Middle East region.

The country also opened up to tourists with the launch of an e-visa scheme in 2019.

More than 400,000 visas were issued in the first six months.

Saudi Arabia tourism drive - in pictures

Updated: July 04, 2022, 11:14 AM
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