Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has established the Saudi Tourism Investment Company, or Asfar, to support the growth of the Kingdom’s tourism sector.
Asfar will invest in new tourism projects and develop destinations with hospitality, tourist attractions, retail, and food and beverage offerings in cities across the country, the PIF said in a statement on July 27.
In addition to offering co-investment opportunities to the private sector, the new company aims to create a supportive environment for local suppliers, contractors, and small and medium-sized enterprises. Another priority is to create a competitive environment that will boost the variety and quality of the hospitality and tourism sector.
Asfar will enable each Saudi Arabian city to make its tourism unique, diversifying and enriching their tourism and entertainment experience, the statement read.
Under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia is implementing social reforms together with the economic agenda to help modernise its cities, such as by holding music concerts, opening cinemas, and allowing women to drive. The country’s economy rose 8.7 percent last year, growing 3.8 percent in the first quarter on an annual basis due to growth in the non-oil sector.
One of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, the PIF is at the core of the Saudi Vision 2030 initiative to diversify the country’s economy from hydrocarbons. Under the vision, the gulf nation is developing non-oil sectors such as entertainment, culture and sports to create jobs, boost quality of life, and attract skilled talent and tourists.