Following our first trip to Saudi, our interest in the growth of tourism has been quite high! We can’t wait for borders to be open properly and for tourism infrastructures to be set as well to facilitate international visits.
It is said that Saudi hospitality sector is to grow 13.5% per annum to 2022, source from the new report commissioned by the ATM. This percentage is higher than the established markets of the UAE (10.1%) and Oman (11.8%). Colliers research’s found that religious tourism in the kingdom is still driving demand, with 30,000 rooms opened during 2017, with a further 40,020 guest rooms in 89 projects currently under construction (versus to 35,050 rooms in the UAE)
Saudi’s plan for visitors
Saudi Arabia announced last year that their goal is to expand leisure tourism, targeting 30 million visitors annually by 2030. As a result, 2018 will see the first tourism visas granted to international travellers and, for the first time, women aged 25 and older will now be able to obtain a single entry, 30-day tourist visa without a male chaperone. You can read more about how to get a visa for Saudi Arabia here.
Saudi Arabia Entertainment Plans for visitors
The kingdom has also announced a series of leisure projects in recent months, including the creation of a Six Flags theme park in Riyadh by 2021 and a Red Sea resort built on 100 miles of sandy coastline and backed by investment from Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson. Featuring hotels, residences and a transport hub, the project will create 35,000 jobs, adding SAR15 billion (~4 billion $US) to the economy.
Forecasts for Saudi Tourism
The report, forecasts that five-year air passenger numbers will increase 8% at King Khalid International Airport Riyadh and 6% at King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah. This is compared to 8% at both Muscat and Dubai International and 7% at Abu Dhabi International.
Press added: “These higher visitor arrivals will support jobs, investment opportunities and economic diversification, in line with the kingdom’s plans for its future. In terms of regional tourism, these are game changing developments, completely unprecedented, and something few expected.”