A national center for safety in amusement parks is to be formed by the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC) to provide adequate precautions for families that visit these facilities.

Mohammed Al–Moajil, chairman of the National Committee for Tourism said the decision to form such a committee was made to ensure maximum safety and security for families that visit amusement parks located across the Kingdom. 

“Amusement parks should not function without having the center’s approval first to guarantee the machinery operates safely and in order to avoid tragic incidents,” the chairman said.

“We, as a national committee for tourism and as investors and owners, have a great responsibility toward ensuring people’s safety as well as to maintain the reputation of our organizations, which ought to provide people with secured, safe and high quality services,” Al-Moajil said. 

In February, 12 school children were injured when they fell from a ride at Panorama Mall’s amusement park. Following the intervention of Riyadh Gov. Prince Khalid Bin Bandar, an investigative team recommended halting the operations of all rides manufactured by a particular company until the cause of the accident was revealed.

Subsequently, the governor ordered companies operating rides in commercial malls and amusement parks to comply with instructions, carry out weekly maintenance procedures and prepare technical reports about the ride conditions.

According to recent directives, government technical committees will carry out unannounced inspections and submit reports about their operation. Rides that fail to fulfill the required safety conditions and standards will be halted and violations will be referred to concerned courts that will investigate the case.

Al-Moajil urged the government to support the sector by creating a fund for tourism development, adding that the tourism industry is as intrinsic to the country’s economy as the industrial and agricultural sectors.

Al-Moajil predicted that the tourism sector will provide around 841,000 instant jobs in the Kingdom, and nearly 421,000 potential jobs by 2015, totaling 1.26 million jobs, urging greater incentives to overcome the obstacles faced by the investors to develop this sector.

The committee then agreed to create a Tourist Family Club, which would offer exclusive services to people in the tourism sector. 

The committee also touched on the importance of the media’s role in raising awareness in this regard by constantly keeping investors updated regarding the latest developments in the field. 

The domestic expenditures on national flights exceeded SR 36 billion in 2011, compared to SR 31 billion in 2010, leading to a 16 percent increase. In addition, expenditures on domestic flights form 44.4 percent of total spending on domestic tourism and 37.5 percent of total spending on national tourism. 

Al-Moajil pointed out that the committee recommended extensive studies to be conducted on the status of the workforce in the tourism accommodation sector and the creation of training centers to develop workers’ skills.

On another note, the committee will also review an earlier suggestion to create an association for car owners on the lines of the American Car Association, in coordination with the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) as a means to facilitate traveling.