It’s no secret that Saudi Arabia has it’s eyes firmly set on a future as a tourism destination. And new research by the Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC) has looked at the perceptions of Saudi youth and their parents towards the tourism and hospitality industries.
Based on more than 850 face-to-face interviews, the research found that young Saudis are less interested in traditional Saudi jobs such as petrochemicals or the huge oil industry, but prefer those within the strategic growth industries targeted by Vision 2030.
In total, nine in ten young Saudis were interested in pursuing a career in tourism, compared to just over three quarters (77 per cent) who were interested in a career in petrochemicals.
“We are only at the beginning of Saudi Arabia’s exciting transition to a new and diversified economy and future generations have a chance to play their part,” said John Pagano, chief executive of TRSDC.
“A career in tourism or hospitality offers a range of opportunities like no other.
“From managing an international hotel group, to becoming a world class chef or entrepreneur, the sector has something for everyone.
“The Red Sea Development Company is at the heart of this emerging industry and once completed our destination will support 70,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs providing opportunities to people throughout the country,” he added.
Young Saudis and their parents are looking to the roles that tourism and hospitality will play in the country’s new diversified economy with two more than half of the population believing the sectors will become more important for the Saudi economy over the next ten years.
They are also optimistic that these roles will be a key driver of employment for Saudi nationals. Over two thirds (69 per cent) of young Saudis believe that expanding tourism and hospitality industries would provide jobs for Saudi nationals.
“Saudi Arabia has a long and rich cultural heritage, and the people of this magnificent country have the opportunity to showcase this and their fabled hospitality with the rest of world,” said Pagano.
“Our people are at the heart of our business and will be essential to the development of our ambitious destination, therefore it is encouraging to see so many young Saudis acknowledging the benefits that a career in this dynamic sector has to offer them.”
The appeal to young Saudis of a career in tourism or hospitality is driven by the perceptions of the lifestyle it will provide.
Over 84 percent believe that a career in tourism and hospitality will give them the salary and resources they expect to sustain themselves.
Although there is excitement at the prospect of employment in emerging sectors, as is the global trend, young Saudis understandably give importance to conventional factors such as salary (33 per cent), job security (22 per cent) and opportunities for personal growth (19 per cent) when considering jobs.
The full report The Future Faces of Tourism, can be found online here.