Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), has unveiled a new entity, the Saudi Tourism Investment Company, known as Asfar. Asfar’s primary mission is to invest in and foster the expansion of the nation’s tourism sector.
This newly established company is poised to invest in various tourism ventures, focusing on developing appealing destinations across multiple cities within Saudi Arabia. These destinations include hospitality, tourist attractions, retail establishments, and food and beverage offerings.
Asfar’s approach includes facilitating private sector involvement through co-investment opportunities, and it aims to cultivate an attractive ecosystem for local suppliers, contractors, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to participate in developing tourism projects and destinations.
Leveraging Saudi Arabia’s strategically advantageous location at the crossroads of Asia, Africa, and Europe, Asfar intends to create a competitive environment to enhance the diversity and quality of hospitality and tourism offerings within the kingdom.
Asfar’s mission is to capitalize on the kingdom’s rich natural beauty and cultural diversity, elevating the overall tourism experience in the nation. The goal is to draw domestic and international tourists to undiscovered destinations across Saudi Arabia, aligning with the national objective of attracting 100 million annual visitors by 2030.
Mishary Alibraheem, Head of Entertainment, Leisure, and Sports Sector at PIF’s MENA Investments, noted, “Asfar will activate the role that Saudi Arabia’s cities play in supporting the national economy. It will enable each city to make the most of its unique tourism offering, further diversifying and enriching the tourism and entertainment experience in Saudi Arabia.”
The establishment of Asfar aligns with PIF’s strategic vision to create opportunities within the tourism sector and cultivate meaningful partnerships with the private sector, resulting in job creation and income diversification for the local economy, in line with Saudi Vision 2030.
PIF’s Expansive Ventures
With its vast portfolio, PIF has established 86 companies across 13 strategic sectors, generating over 500,000 direct and indirect jobs. This $700 billion sovereign wealth fund vigorously diversifies the Saudi economy from relying on oil.
Recent initiatives include creating Al Madinah Heritage Company to enhance Ajwa date quality and production in the Madinah region. Additionally, PIF established Sawani Company to grow the kingdom’s camel farming industry and introduced the Pharmaceutical Investment Company (Lifera) to bolster Saudi Arabia’s biopharmaceutical sector and global manufacturing presence.
Further investments include the National Unified Procurement Company to strengthen the local medicine supply chain. PIF also initiated enterprises like the Saudi Coffee Company, the Halal Products Development Company, and the Saudi Agricultural Investment and Livestock Production Company.
PIF holds stakes in tech giants like Uber Technologies, soccer teams like Newcastle United, and electric car manufacturers such as Lucid and Ceer. It’s also driving ambitious projects like NEOM City and the Red Sea Development Company’s mega tourism venture in the desert, contributing to Saudi Arabia’s diverse economic landscape.