Twenty-seven winners from among more than 600 contestants received prizes at the Saudi Excellence in Tourism Awards (SETA) at the Riyadh Exhibition Center on Tuesday.
“From 240 nominees in the first event in 2011, the number of contestants has increased to more than 600,” Barry Gray, ETA consultant, told the audience in his opening remarks.
The Voyager and the Tirhal magazines organized the event under the aegis of Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA).
Gray added that even the online votes for the award this year exceeded a quarter of a million, emphasizing the fact that the key element to the program’s success is attributed to the integrity of the judging process.
A nine-member panel headed by Khalid Al-Sedais, partner and head of the Audit at KPMG, officiated the judges for the contests.
Staged under the supervision of the SCTA, this year’s program included more than 40 categories for nominations.
In a message released on the occasion, Prince Sultan said: “The Saudi Excellence in Tourism Awards is another major step in our continuous objective toward responsibly developing our country’s tourism offerings.”
The Kingdom’s tourism industry is an important element in the diversification of Saudi Arabia’s economy and a significant opportunity for expanding the national work force in a rewarding and enjoyable career, he said, pointing out that the SETAs are aimed at recognizing not only category winners, but anybody or institution that contributed to the development of the tourism industry.
He added that the tourism industry in the Kingdom is developing rapidly and is an exciting industry to be involved in, highlighting the continuous initiatives undertaken by the Council of Ministers to improve the professionalism and services offered by this sector.
“By improving our services and facilities, we aim to enhance the attractiveness of this industry for the benefit of our national work force,” he noted.
He said these awards have become a well-established annual event attracting investors interested in embarking on a discovery journey, as SCTA develops the tourism opportunities in the Kingdom.
The Saudi Council of Ministers on 12/1/1421H (16/04/2000) issued Resolution 9 to establish the Supreme Commission for Tourism (SCT). The resolution came to emphasize the importance of the tourism industry as one of the productive sectors vital for the national economy, especially in terms of increasing investment opportunities and creating new job prospects for citizens.
Subsequently, in view of the importance of the Kingdom’s antiquities and museums, another resolution by the Council of Ministers was issued to integrate antiquities and museums into the Supreme Commission for Tourism.
According to the resolution, the name ‘Supreme Commission for Tourism’ (SCT) was changed to Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities.