On the day that Saudi Arabia announced a major opening-up of its tourism industry – a move which demonstrates its commitment to bold reform – Asia House welcomed the Kingdom’s Ambassador to the UK, His Royal Highness Prince Khaled bin Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, for a roundtable discussion with Corporate Members.
According to Tourism Minister Ahmad Al-Khateeb, Saudi Arabia will open up to tourists from 49 countries for the very first time as it seeks to diversify the economy away from oil as part of the Vision 2030 initiative.
This announcement is an example of the pace of change in Saudi Arabia, something that the Ambassador emphasised during a lively and insightful discussion – one of His Royal Highness’s first engagements with the business community since taking up his London post.
The Ambassador also shared information on the key sectors where he envisages particular opportunities under Vision 2030. Asia House Chief Executive Michael Lawrence, who chaired the meeting, then opened up the discussion to the table.
The Ambassador took questions on a range of topics, including Saudi Arabia’s priorities when it chairs the G20 in 2020; the role of women in the economy; and the Kingdom’s growing relationship with China.
The roundtable was held as part of the Asia House Middle East Programme – a series of events and research activities aimed at driving engagement with the region.