Theodore Slate - Jun 16, 2024
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In 2023, tourism activity in Saudi Arabia surged by more than 32%, reaching 444.3 billion Saudi Riyals (SAR) or 114 billion euros, contributing 11.5% to its GDP, according to the WTTC. These figures represent a 30% rise over the destination's previous record. Tourism industry also made a significant stride in job creation, adding 436,000 additional jobs, a substantial increase that brings the total number of people employed in tourism to 2.5 million, which is nearly one in five jobs.

The significant increase in job creation reassures stakeholders about the positive impact of the tourism industry on the country's economy and employment rate.

Spending by international visitors surged by almost 57% to SAR 227.4 billion, surpassing the previous record of SAR 93.6 billion. Domestic visitor spending also increased by 21.5% to SAR 142.5 billion. Additionally, Saudi Arabia achieved its goal of attracting 100 million tourists in 2023, seven years ahead of schedule, and now aims to welcome 150 million tourists by 2030.

800 Billion Dollars Expected by 2030

"Tourism is an important part of the Kingdom's Vision 2030 plan to diversify the economy. We are making significant progress in attracting investment to the sector, with plans to attract more than US$800 billion by 2030. This robust investment inflow will create new jobs and significantly boost tourism's contribution to GDP," stated Saudi Arabia's Minister of Tourism, Ahmed Al-Khateeb, instilling confidence in the audience about the country's economic growth.

The tourism industry in the kingdom is projected to grow strongly in 2024, with an expected GDP contribution of SAR 498 billion. Over 158,000 jobs are projected to be created, bringing the total to almost 2.7 million.

International visitor spending is anticipated to reach SAR256 billion, nearly doubling the previous record, while domestic visitor spending is expected to hit SAR 155.2 billion.

Experts predict that within ten years, the sector's contribution to annual GDP will reach SAR 836.1 billion by 2034, accounting for nearly 16% of the Saudi economy and employing more than 3.6 million people nationwide. This promising projection underscores the potential opportunities and growth the tourism industry holds for the future, sparking excitement and hope among the stakeholders.

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