Saudi Arabia plans to open the Riyadh School of Tourism and Hospitality in Qiddiya by 2027, with a campus spanning 5 million square meters and costing over $1 billion. The school is a gift from Saudi Arabia to the world, offering training opportunities in tourism and hospitality.
A Commitment to Global Tourism Education
Marking a significant milestone in Saudi Arabia’s journey toward economic diversification, the nation recently made a groundbreaking announcement. The Saudi Minister of Tourism, Ahmed Al-Khateeb, revealed plans for the Riyadh School of Tourism and Hospitality – a massive initiative aimed at fostering global talent in the tourism and hospitality sectors.
The project, estimated at a whopping $1 billion, is expected to be completed by 2027.
The Vision and the Venue
Envisioned as a world-class institution offering unparalleled training in hospitality and tourism, the school will be situated in Qiddiya – a location spanning a colossal area of five million square meters. With its cutting-edge facilities and internationally recognized curriculum, the school is set to become a global hub for tourism and hospitality education.
The Global Significance
Emphasizing the global significance of the initiative during his announcement on World Tourism Day, Minister Al-Khateeb referred to the school as a “gift from Saudi Arabia to the world”. The institution aims to offer excellent training in the field of tourism and hospitality, open to individuals worldwide who are seeking top-notch training in these dynamic sectors.
The Qiddiya Initiative
The ambitious educational project forms a part of the Qiddiya initiative, launched by Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman in 2017. Qiddiya is expected to become the largest cultural, sports, and entertainment city globally, further bolstering the significance of the school within its framework.
The Infrastructure Development
In preparation for the launch of the school, the Saudi Real Estate Company (SRECO) has unveiled contracts for infrastructure projects within Qiddiya. These projects include the construction of essential infrastructure networks, bridges, roads, utility networks, pedestrian bridges, and rainwater drainage canals.
The package also incorporates the design and construction of a wastewater treatment plant, water storage facilities, a pumping station, and a solid waste transfer center.
Saudi Arabia’s Economic Diversification
The creation of the Riyadh School of Tourism and Hospitality aligns with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 – a government project launched in 2016 aimed at achieving economic, social, and cultural diversification by 2030.
Led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the initiative aims to reduce the country’s reliance on oil and transform it into an international powerhouse, with tourism playing a key role.
Saudi Arabia is making a substantial investment of over $800 billion in the tourism and hospitality sector. The nation aims to generate 1 million jobs over the next decade while expecting international arrivals to double by 2032.
This investment reflects the Kingdom’s commitment to diversifying its economy, moving away from oil to other sectors such as real estate, entertainment, sports, and tourism.
The Need for Professional Training
While hospitality is ingrained in Saudi culture, there is a recognized need for investing in professional training to cope with the sector’s expected growth. The Riyadh School of Tourism and Hospitality aims to produce talent within this sector to cover hundreds of jobs that will open in the coming years.
The tourism school is also part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to boost its international image as a global tourism destination.
Acknowledging the challenges in attracting tourists from around the world, the country is focusing on strengthening its image as a versatile tourism destination, contrary to the widespread stereotype of being a desert nation alone.
Overcoming Infrastructure Challenges
Saudi Arabia is actively working on addressing the challenges in its transportation infrastructure. Despite the country’s vast size and certain terrains posing difficulties for infrastructure development, new roads are being opened, and the government is working on linking cities through airports, trains, and main highways.
In line with the Vision 2030 project, Saudi Arabia has witnessed several tourism projects and hospitality centers. The nation is working towards increasing the number of tourist facilities, with the annual growth in the number of hotel rooms reaching 16% or more.
The Riyadh School of Tourism and Hospitality is a testament to Saudi Arabia’s commitment to global tourism education. As the country continues to diversify its economy and boost its tourism sector, the world awaits the grand opening of this institution in 2027.
With its state-of-the-art infrastructure and commitment to excellence, the school is poised to become a global hub for tourism and hospitality education.
The Riyadh School of Tourism and Hospitality is not just a gift from Saudi Arabia to the world but also a reflection of the nation’s dedication to fostering global talent in tourism and hospitality.
As the world watches this exciting development, there’s no doubt that the future of global tourism education is set to be revolutionized.