The Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) inaugurated the Tourism Geographic Information System. The project is created by the Tourism Information and Research Center (MAS). In a statement after the inauguration, HRH Sultan Bin Salman Bin Abdul-Aziz, president of The Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, emphasized the importance of the program, which is considered as an information vessel to promote tourism products, events, activities, sites, surveys, and the like. The program will contribute in facilitating information to tourists, as well as decision makers, in addition to its role as an assisting tool in tourism planning.
The project is a part of the development process which is adopted by SCTA to strengthen the database and information systems of the tourism and antiquities sector. It also comes within SCTA’s framework; since it’s foundation, it stated working towards a full transformation into an electronic administration.
HRH Prince Sultan added that SCTA became a key reference point regarding tourism statistics and surveys, stating, “We have 1,000 tourism studies and surveys published on MAS website tourism surveys.”
Dr. Mohammad Al Ahmed, general manager of MAS, pointed out that “Tourism GIS” will contribute to the protection and management of tourism resources and will also assist SCTA in managing the tourism sector electronically.
Al-Ahmed indicated that the program is comprised of a set of applications, which will enable building an integrated tourism geographic database to provide information services to the Kingdom’s tourists from any place and at any time via the Internet or mobile telephones.
The program will establish an electronic archive for geographic information, as well as link data and maps all in a single system. Al-Ahmed Added, “The geographic aspect of the electronic transaction will help in the standardization of electronic maps and initiate the exchange of information between partners.”
UNWTO has recently selected MAS as the regional center for capacity building regarding tourism statistics in the Middle East. The center has also issued the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA), which provides internationally-approved concepts, classifications, and standards for tourism expenditure and production in a comprehensive and integrated framework, as well as establishing an electronic database for tourism-services providers in the Kingdom.
For more information, please visit the MAS website: www.mas.gov.sa , as well as the Saudi Tourism website: www.sauditourism.com.sa .