Saudi Arabia Ministry of Tourism is expecting to attract new investments worth $58.64 billion by 2023 and over $133.2 billion by 2030 for the development of the sector.
During the session “Future sectors” at the Saudi Budget Forum 2021, the minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb stated that the Kingdom had welcomed tourists last year as part of its tourism strategy and attracted more than 500,000 visitors from over 25 countries before the pandemic.
Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector constitutes 3.5 percent of the total gross domestic product (GDP) and the authority targets to raise it to 10 percent. This sector contributes four percent of the total jobs in the Kingdom.
Referring to the investments made for the development of the domestic tourist destinations, the minister stated that the country has pumped huge funds into giant tourism projects like NEOM, Qiddiya, the Red Sea and Diriyah Gate. “We have made coordination with banks and the Tourism Development Fund to finance parts of these projects, in addition to attracting private sector investments,” Al-Khateeb added.
“Hotel occupancy in the Kingdom has increased to more than 80 percent with the return of the domestic tourism industry to normalcy. We have offered more than 17 tourist destinations in the Kingdom, and we have already surveyed 8 out of these destinations to clearly find out what they required, and that is in accordance with the National Tourism Strategy.”
Further, he pointed out that the country has seen an accelerated movement in terms of amending regulations and legislations related to tourism and it is now working to bring ease in the process of securing hotel licenses by reducing the period to 10 days from the previous long waits.