Saudi tourism development fund goes cloud-first with Oracle

$4bn fund will be used to invest in developing Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry as the country reduces its economic reliance on oil and gas

Saudi Arabia’s Tourism Development Fund (TDF) has implemented Oracle cloud services as part of its cloud-first strategy.

The fund, which is supporting the development of Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry, is also piloting the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to increase automation and improve employee and customer experiences.

TDF has a fund of $4bn to invest in developing Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry as part of the country reducing its economic reliance on oil and gas, known as the Vision 2030 programme. It aims to increase the tourism sector’s contribution to the economy from 3% to 10% by 2030, creating one million new jobs.

The organisation is using Oracle software-as-a-service (SaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud solutions to integrate functions such as, finance, human resources and procurement. This will increase data integration and unify business processes, with the goal of increasing productivity, reducing costs and improving controls.

Yasser Alkhathlan, executive director business technology at TDF, said the roll-out of Oracle cloud services will help TDF to respond to businesses that operate in the tourism ecosystem “quickly and transparently”.

He added: “The integration and automation of core business functions also allows us to scale our operations quickly and securely, introduce innovative solutions to support tourism sector SMEs, and monitor the performance of our fund in real time.”

Alkhathlan said there is increased confidence in Oracle’s cloud services because its next-generation cloud region is in Jeddah. Oracle is also a certified Level 1 cloud provider, as defined by Saudi Arabia’s Communications and Information Technology Commission.

Read more about enterprise IT in Saudi Arabia

“Since its cloud solutions are hosted in the country, they are aligned with the Kingdom’s Cloud Computing Regulatory Framework and compliant with the National Cybersecurity Authority security models,” he added.

Fahad Al Turief, managing director at Oracle Saudi Arabia, said: “TDF is a true catalyst for Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector and with this initiative, the organisation now has access to a connected business platform that will result in further enhanced operations.”

Another project sees TDF pilot the use of AI to increase automation – and it is emerging that technologies such as AI are driving an increase in IT spending in the Gulf state.

According to IDC, Saudi Arabian organisations will spend $11bn on IT this year, as emerging technologies are adopted to adapt to the post-pandemic business environment.

Post-pandemic challenges will fuel IT spending alongside existing strategies to diversify the local economy, where IT will play a key role in reducing the country’s reliance on oil revenues.

Spending on IT services and devices will account for more than half of the IT spend, said IDC. The total spent on IT this year will be 4.2% higher than last year, and Saudi government, finance and communications organisations will spend about $3.6bn on IT.

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