In accordance with the decree issued today by the Council of Ministers, a Supreme Commission for Tourism (SCT) is to be established as an independent body reporting directly to the cabinet. The SCT will be based in Riyadh, but will have the right to set up branches or offices wherever needed. The SCT's main concern will be tourism within the Kingdom, enhancing the role of the tourist sector and removing obstacles facing it in its capacity as an important source of national income. Tourist facilities for investment will be undertaken by the private sector.
The SCT will be assigned the task of forging a general policy to promote the tourist sector. This will include evaluation of tourist-related infrastructure; establishment of programs necessary for its completion; removal of whatever obstacles might cripple tourist activity; provision of facilities and incentives for investors, such as data centers and informational plans promoting tourism; a comprehensive survey of tourist locations in the Kingdom; encouragement of all efforts to boost tourism; preservation of tourist sites, and folklore items such as handicrafts, markets, and cottage industries; and coordination of efforts among concerned authorities, both government and private, and with other countries involved in tourism in the Kingdom.
The board of directors of SCT will be chaired by Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector-General Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, and be comprised of its Secretary-General, and the Ministers of Interior, Foreign Affairs, Planning, Commerce, Agriculture and Water, Education, Municipal and Rural Affairs, and Pilgrimage, plus the General President for Youth Welfare. In addition, between five and seven members will be appointed by the cabinet for three-year terms, upon nomination by the board, provided that appointees have no tourist-related investment activity.
The board of directors is assigned to issue all tourist-related decisions within its authority. It will, for instance, approve general policies for promoting the tourist sector, issue administrative regulations for SCT, and its financial regulations in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and National Economy, approve its budget and final account, form permanent or temporary committees to execute specific tasks, form consultative committees from experts and assign whoever it chooses to take over some of the board's or the secretary general's authority. The secretary general will be assigned by a royal decree. The SCT will enjoy an independent budget within the general budget of the State and will be subject to the general instructions of the Ministry of Finance and National Economy. In addition to this budget, the SCT may accept any grants, assistance, gifts and endowments that it receives. The final accounts for the SCT will be forwarded by the auditor to the Council of Ministers within three months from the end of the fiscal year. This law becomes effective from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette.