By Mohannad Sharawi
JEDDAH – Saudi Arabia and 22 Islamic and Arab states are expected to take part in the first Arab-Turkey travel and tourism exhibition, known as ATCEX 2012, in Bursa Province, Turkey from April 18 to 20.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will also be in attendance.
Experts say Saudi Arabia’s attendance is important because of its growing tourism industry. This country has 4,563 tourism and travel firms, with 1,503 catering for Haj and Umrah pilgrims.
Bandar Bin Fahad Al-Fuhaid, president of the Arab Tourism Organization (ATO), said that ATCEX is aimed at growing the industry to benefit the economies of all countries in the region.
He said the exhibition will also help to improve standards in the industry and “open channels of communication between policy makers, the business community and all tourism stakeholders”.
Salha Aseeri, marketing advisor of ATCEX 2012, said tourism revenues in Saudi Arabia was about SR154 billion last year. Some experts expect government to spend around SR101.3 billion on tourism by 2020. The sector will probably create about one million jobs by 2015, she added.