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KSA: Saudi Arabia has reported an astounding 156% increase in international arrivals in 2023 compared to 2019, as per the World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) Barometer report. This surge has contributed significantly to the region’s overall tourism growth of 22% in 2023.

Despite facing a 12% fall from pre-pandemic levels, the global tourism sector exhibited encouraging indications of recuperation, boasting around 1.3 billion international arrivals in 2023. The resurgence in international tourism revenues, nearing 93% of the 2019 figure, highlights the sector’s resilience. Moreover, tourism’s direct contribution to global GDP reached around 3%, translating to a substantial $3.3 trillion.

Saudi Arabia has emerged as a standout performer within the G20, leading in international arrivals growth and securing the position of the second fastest-growing tourist destination globally during the initial three quarters of 2023.

The economic impact of Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector is equally impressive. International visitor spending surpassed a significant milestone, exceeding SR100 billion, according to data from the Saudi Central Bank. Furthermore, the travel balance of payments witnessed a remarkable 72% increase from 2022, revealing a surplus of 37.8 billion Saudi riyals by Q3 of 2023.

These accomplishments highlight Saudi Arabia’s growing recognition as a unique global tourist destination. Traveller confidence in the Kingdom’s diverse attractions has played an important role in this success, positioning Saudi Arabia as a must-visit destination on the world tourism map.

The Ministry of Tourism in Saudi Arabia has laid out ambitious plans for 2024 to sustain this impressive growth trajectory. The focus will be on showcasing key destinations such as AlUla, Diriyah, Yanbu, and Abha. Additionally, the Kingdom will host major events, including the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Diriyah E-Prix, and various cultural festivals, to further enhance its global tourism appeal. These strategic initiatives promise sustained growth in the tourism sector and also present significant opportunities for international investors.