Arabian Tourism Bank to improve infrastructure in region


A deal in this regard was signed here recently. Prince Sultan bin Salman, secretary-general of the Supreme Commission for Tourism (SCT), and Lebanese Tourism Minister Joseph Sarkis attended the signing ceremony. Mohammed bin Ibrahim Al Tuwaijri, assistant secretary-general for economic affairs at the Arab League, was among those present.

Sarkis said the agreement reflected the strong existing relations between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon. Arab Tourism Organisation President Bander Al Fuhaid said he was happy that the agreement was signed. "Siraj Capital will facilitate the setting up of the new bank and was conducting studies with one of the international agencies for the purpose," he said.

Founders of the new bank include a number of Arab countries that will retain 40 per cent of its share and the remaining 60 per cent will be floated through initial public offering.

"An Arab country will be selected in due course for headquartering the new bank, which will subsequently open branches across the Arab world," Al Fuhaid said. The new bank, which is being established following a decision of the Arab tourism ministers, will set up a $ 4 billion tourism development fund that will be sponsored by the Arab Tourism Organisation through the tourism ministries of Arab countries. "One of the main goals and tasks of the new bank is to strategically provide finance needed for establishing and improving tourist infrastructure projects. The tourism sector is vital for any country and the new bank will make available necessary finance and liquidity to develop the sector and make it competitive to attract both domestic and international investment," he explained.

Siraj Capital President Ghassan Al Sulaiman said studies and researches conducted so far had shown that the new bank project could be the main support for developing the tourist sector. "After all, Arab tourism is growing rapidly and the sector has been generating substantial revenue for some countries," he said.

He said tourism and tourist services had not developed to the extent of attracting tourists in large numbers in certain countries. "They need to get a huge number of visitors from both within the country and overseas. They, therefore, need funds and investment to develop their tourism sector by launching new projects and training human resources to improve service," he added.


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