Quantity of workers needed in Saudi tourism currently 'doesn’t exist': Red Sea Development CEO

John Pagano believes that the kingdom will "need more than 1 million people to enter the tourism workforce"

Pagano spoke at the Misk Global Forum in Saudi’s capital on November 13
Pagano spoke at the Misk Global Forum in Saudi’s capital on November 13

The CEO of Saudi Arabia's Red Sea Development Company, John Pagano, believes that there aren't enough workers in the kingdom's tourism industry and that Saudi will "need more than 1 million people to enter the tourism workforce".

Pagano spoke at the Misk Global Forum in Saudi’s capital on November 13, and explained that the quantity of workers needed in the sector “doesn’t exist”, at the moment.

The Red Sea Project alone is expected to spawn 70,000 new jobs. The gigaproject, which will span more than 28,000 sq. km thus making it “the size of Belgium”, is hoped to have its first phase completed by 2022. This will include 14 luxury hotels consisting of 3,000 rooms across five islands and two resorts.

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At the same forum, Jerry Inzerillo, CEO of the Diriyah Gate Development Authority, said 55,000 jobs will be created thanks to the Diriyah gigaproject.

The ‘Diriyah Gate’ project is slated to be a seven sq km space holding more than 100 cafes and restaurants.

“Within four days, we had 12,700 applicants enthusiastic to pursue careers in hospitality,” Pagano said. “The future is golden for the youth of Saudi Arabia if you want to pursue a career in tourism.”

Inzerillo assured that: “We’ve been given the resources to develop on every level.”

Gigaprojects like these feed into the country’s Vision 2030, a mission to ween Saudi’s economy off of oil and significantly strengthen its other sectors, such as tourism. Sister-publication Construction Week Online reports that the country is spending US$ 27 billion (SAR100bn) to invigorate tourism in the country.

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