Saudi Fund signs $43bn deal to boost tourism sector

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Saudi Arabia’s Tourism Development Fund signed an agreement with regional banks to finance up to $43 billion of tourism projects in the country.

An agreement was signed in the presence of Ahmed al-Khatib, the Saudi Arabian Minister of Tourism and Chairman of the fund’s board of directors between the fund’s CEO Qusai Al-Fakhri; Tareq Abdul Rahman Saleh Al Sadhan, CEO of Riyadh Bank and Rayan Fayez, the managing director and CEO of Banque Saudi Fransi signed the agreement.

The deal focuses on setting up financing programs with a value of up to $43 billion to help and expand the tourism sector while facilitating programs agreed with the two banks.

As part of the government’s attempts to improve the industry, the deal will set up arrangements to finance tourism projects throughout the country, the main support to the Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman’s Vision 2030 reform policy for reducing oil dependence.

As per the official statement, “This agreement includes defining ways of cooperation between the fund and the participating banks by setting up mechanisms to support financing tourism projects in various regions of the Kingdom”.

The Tourism Development Fund, founded in June is part of efforts to strengthen the economy in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic and low oil prices. And it was started with an initial $4 billion investment to support the industry.

In partnership with private and investment banks, the fund aims to introduce investment funds to grow tourism.

Recently, Tourism Minister Ahmed al-Khateeb said that the tourism industry had been hit hard by strict government coronavirus control measures and was expected to fall by 35-45 percent by the end of the year.