People, Travel

Investors Pulling Out of Saudi Travel Sector

Investors Pulling Out of Saudi Travel SectorInvestors Pulling Out of Saudi Travel Sector

Seventy percent of investors in Saudi Arabia’s tourism entertainment sector have pulled out and turned to other sectors.

Their action was blamed on frustrating bureaucratic procedures and social challenges facing the sector as well as the short shelf-life and profitability of gaming machines, Arab News reported.

Investors are calling for urgent solutions, elimination of bureaucracy and facilitation of procedures, as well as for the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage to be the supervisor, legislator and reference for the sector.

Investors are also calling for linking investment and culture, establishing a tourism development fund as part of new financial channels and provision of land at lower prices.

Entertainment cities currently employ used games and refurbished machines, investors say, and they insist that the General Authority for Entertainment create more investment opportunities for entertainment in different parts of the Saudi kingdom.

Abdullatif Al-Afaliq, the head of the National Committee for Tourism at the Council of Saudi Chambers, said entertainment cities and parks were attractive to investors, along with tourism, but the construction of these cities faces several obstacles, namely the supply of the latest machinery and games.

A single machine can cost of up to €3 million ($3.4 million), with a shelf-life of only three years, while profits can decline by up to 20% and electricity consumption can be expensive.

He called for urgent attention to the sector, linking entertainment cities to culture as well as establishing a tourism development fund to support investors.

Mohammed al-Mojel, the head of Tourism Committee at the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce, said bureaucracy was a major challenge facing investors, while social challenges and funding pressures have also led to 70% of investors leaving the sector and turning to other profitable sectors.