Vienna- Prince Sultan bin Salman, the president of Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), told Asharq al-Awsat on the sidelines of the 29th edition of Association of Space Explorers (ASE) conference that Saudi Arabia has become a pioneer in the field of space launching.
Speaking of SCTH, Prince Sultan affirmed that it has a comprehensive program to reduce the citizen’s dependence on government jobs or social insurance, noting that Saudi Arabia is a country of high spiritual, economic and cultural value and is always in the lead.
The association was founded following a constituent assembly held in Paris in 1985, according to the prince. “I was asked to be one of the founders; meetings continued for one week to mediate between two rival parties – the U.S. and the Soviet Union – to establish common ground,” he continued.
Prince Salman hailed the achievements made by King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology as it is considered a prominent scientific organization in the region and has relations and deals in the field of space with China, Russia, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA).
The Prince said: “We usually urge the youths to activate their participation in the space domain and we hope that Saudi Arabia participates via an astronaut in scientific research in the advanced technical and scientific fields.”
According to Prince Sultan, a comprehensive plan, prepared in cooperation with experts and residents of all Saudi regions and based on realistic vision and figures, was presented years ago.
“The impact of tourism and heritage in Saudi Arabia would have been bigger had this plan been implemented,” he added.
Prince Sultan stressed that the citizen comes first. SCTH focuses on this point, on Saudization specifically. Despite the obstacles that faced the authority, it still managed to be recognized as the second Saudized sector in the national economy, he said.
“Tourism now has an international organization affiliated to the U.N.; it is also one of the three basic factors of economy diversification, job opportunities and salaries. Tourism represented 20% of some countries’ income and this is a fantastic figure…We request sufficient funding especially that Saudi Vision 2030 tackles the importance of tourism and national heritage,” concluded Prince Sultan.