NICOSIA – Saudi Arabia, trying to lure tourists despite its human rights record, has shown itself to be a top destination and inspiring other countries on how to do it, Cyprus Deputy Tourism Minister Kostas Koumis said.
In an interview with Arab News during the UN World Tourism Day, held in Riyadh, he said that Saudi Arabia is a well-established destination already. We are staying in a very nice hotel, with luxury.”
He pointed to how the country further developed its tourism through the launch of the Riyadh School for Tourism and Hospitality.
“For a country like Saudi Arabia, which is trying to develop the tourism industry again and again, I would say that it is very important to invest in the labor force, in education,” he said.
“Probably Cyprus will get inspiration from Saudi Arabia, seeing as the Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia, Ahmed Al-Khateeb, announced today that Saudi Arabia is planning to open the largest tourism academy in the world, in cooperation with the UN World Tourism Organization,” he added.
The minister said that the key to returning visitors is the Cypriot culture of “philoxenia,” meaning “friend to a stranger,” the island hoping as well for those from the Middle East coming.
He added: “But probably, Saudi Arabia could get inspiration from Cyprus, if we take into consideration that Cyprus is a well-known destination for more than 40 years already.”
He said: “We are actually examining the possibility of special incentive schemes to those developments, taking into consideration the environment. I like to say, and during the event today, during this morning, it is not important to talk about investments only.”
“It is very important to talk about the quality of investments and environmentally friendly investments,” he added.