Come summer, and the citizens and the hospitality industry are at loggerheads on the issue of pricing of tourist accommodation throughout the Kingdom. The citizens complain of unfair tariff hikes, sometimes double, and the hospitality sector hits back and asserts its legal claim to increase price structures during holidays and the tourism season.
The Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities ( SCTA ) has stepped in and clarified that the current pricing policy allows the hospitality sector to increase tariffs during tourism season by 30 percent for hotels and by 50 percent for furnished apartments.
Following this eternal squabble, SCTA is now in the process of drafting a pricing policy that will precede the legislation of a new law on tourism. The new law is expected to take a practical approach to deal with the supply and demand situation in the hospitality sector. The new law is also expected to give the desired thrust to tourism at all levels.
One of the reasons for citizens' complaints against high pricing is that some businesses in the hospitality sector drop their prices to less than the basic price during nonseasonal periods. Consequently, the hike during season seems very high, many in the industry argue.
" SCTA , since taking charge of the hospitality industry, has made efforts to grade and classify the services provided in the sector including hotels and furnished residential units," Omar Al-Mubarak, head of the licensing department at SCTA , said.