Regionally-balanced development has been one of the key policy goals of the Saudi government. Today, the need for job creation seems particularly acute in some regions of the Kingdom. According to the General Authority for Statistics, while the national unemployment rate among Saudi citizens was 12.3% in the second quarter of 2019, some regions reached higher rates, such as 20.9% in Jazan and 18.1% in Al-Baha; rates were lower in those with urban centers such as Riyadh (10.1%) and the Eastern Province (10.4%).While an ongoing tourism opening will start to create greater opportunities for local growth in rural regions, the key long-term challenge is to establish a sustainable growth model that continues to create jobs even after major construction projects are completed, and the novelty-led initial tourism booms are over. To do so, it is desirable that tourism developments will spill-over into other industries.
King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies