Nine in 10 young Saudis look towards tourism and hospitality careers as the country’s economy diversifies

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New report launched today shows the youth’s support for Saudi Arabia’s emerging tourism and hospitality sector

  • Research finds that tourism and hospitality are regarded as the top jobs that young Saudis are interested in, with 91% keen to pursue a career in tourism. 
  • Two thirds believe that the sector will be a key provider of employment for Saudi nationals
  • Young Saudis acknowledge the significance of the tourism sector, with over two thirds believing it will become more important for the Saudi economy over the next 10 years.

Riyadh: The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC), the developer behind the world’s most ambitious regenerative tourism project, has released the findings of a new study into the perceptions of Saudi youth and their parents towards the tourism and hospitality industries.

The research, based on more than 850 face-to-face interviews, found that young Saudis are less interested in careers in more ‘traditional’ sectors such as petrochemicals and oil and gas, but favour those within the country’s strategic growth industries aligned with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030. 

In total, nine in 10 (91%) young Saudis were interested in pursuing a career in tourism, compared to just over three quarters (77%) who were interested in a career in petrochemicals. 

“We are only at the beginning of Saudi Arabia’s exciting transition to a new and diversified economy and future generations have a chance to play their part,” said John Pagano, CEO of TRSDC.

“A career in tourism or hospitality offers a range of opportunities like no other. From managing an international hotel group, to becoming a world class chef or entrepreneur, the sector has something for everyone. The Red Sea Development Company is at the heart of this emerging industry and once completed our destination will support 70,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs providing opportunities to people throughout the country,” he added.

A prosperous future

Young Saudis and their parents are acknowledging the roles that tourism and hospitality will play in the country’s new diversified economy with two thirds (69%) and six in 10 (59%) respectively believing the sectors will become more important for the Saudi economy over the next 10 years. 

They are also optimistic that these roles will be a key driver of employment for Saudi nationals, with over two thirds (69%) of young Saudis believing that expanding tourism and hospitality industries would provide jobs for Saudi nationals.

“Saudi Arabia has a long and rich cultural heritage, and the people of this magnificent country have the opportunity to showcase this and their fabled hospitality with the rest of world,” said Mr Pagano.

“Our people are at the heart of our business and will be essential to the development of our ambitious destination, therefore it is encouraging to see so many young Saudis acknowledging the benefits that a career in this dynamic sector has to offer them.” 

Tourism and hospitality deliver on lifestyle expectations

The appeal to young Saudis of a career in tourism or hospitality is driven by the perceptions of the lifestyle it will provide. Over eight in 10 (84%) believe that a career in tourism and hospitality will give them the salary and resources they expect to sustain themselves. 

Although there is excitement at the prospect of employment in emerging sectors, as is the global trend, young Saudis understandably give importance to conventional factors such as salary (33%), job security (22%) and opportunities for personal growth (19%) when considering jobs.

About the Research:

Conducted by global strategic research firm PSB Insights, the research was based on 855 face-to-face interviews between February and March 2020 with young Saudis aged between 16-34 and parent influencers, defined as those with children aged between 14-24.

A total of 715 prospective employees and 140 parent influencers were interviewed across five locations in the country (Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Qassim and Madinah). The gender split of the survey is 50:50 male to female. 

About The Red Sea Development Company:

The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC) is a closed joint-stock company wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia. TRSDC was established to drive the development of The Red Sea Project, a luxury tourism destination that will set new standards in regenerative development and position Saudi Arabia on the global tourism map.

The project will be developed over 28,000 km2 of pristine lands and waters along Saudi Arabia’s west coast and includes a vast archipelago of more than 90 islands. The destination also features mountain canyons, dormant volcanoes, and ancient cultural and heritage sites. The destination will include hotels, residential properties, leisure, commercial and entertainment amenities, as well as supporting infrastructure that emphasizes renewable energy and water conservation and re-use.

Activity for the first phase of development, which focuses on enabling the infrastructure to support future work, is well underway. A marine infrastructure contract awarded in July 2019 includes the construction of a 3.3 km crossing to Shurayrah (the main hub) and development has begun at the Coastal Village, which will be home to around 14,000 people who will work at the destination.