Tourism bounty for KSA

Travel and tourism sector contributed SAR 444.3 billion to the GDP of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2023. The Kingdom also exceeded the target of 100 million tourists during the year.

TT Bureau

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council’s 2024 Economic Impact Research (EIR), Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Travel & Tourism sector is now soaring past all previous records, which is a testament to the country’s commitment to becoming a global tourism hot spot. Last year, the KSA’s Travel & Tourism sector grew by more than 32 per cent to contribute a record-breaking SAR 444.3 billion to the country’s GDP, representing 11.5 per cent of the entire economy. The growth exceeded the previous record by almost 30 per cent and underscored the sector’s pivotal role in the nation’s economic framework. Jobs supported by the sector grew by 436,000 to reach more than 2.5 mn, representing almost one in five jobs in the country. Although the jobs lost during the pandemic were fully recovered in 2022, the record shows sector employment in Travel & Tourism has increased almost 24 per cent since the previous peak.

International visitor spending surged by almost 57 per cent to reach SAR 227.4 bn, breaking the previous record by SAR 93.6 bn, while domestic visitor spending grew by 21.5 per cent to reach SAR 142.5 bn. Seven years ahead of its target, KSA welcomed 100 million tourists in 2023. Today, the country is surging toward even greater heights and has set a more ambitious aim of attracting 150 mn tourists by 2030.

Julia Simpson, President & Chief Executive Officer, WTTC, said; “Saudi Arabia’s Travel & Tourism sector’s extraordinary achievements last year mark a pivotal moment in its journey towards becoming a global tourism leader. This success is a direct result of the Kingdom’s visionary commitment to the sector, showcasing an impressive fusion of cultural heritage and innovative tourism initiatives. As the sector continues to expand, it promises to play a crucial role in the nation’s diversified economic future, while contributing significantly to global Travel & Tourism development.”

His Excellency Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Minister of Tourism, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Chairman, Executive Council, UN Tourism, said “The latest data from WTTC provides further evidence of the rapid success we have achieved in transforming Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry. Tourism is a key pillar of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 economic diversification plans and we have made great strides promoting investment in the sector – with more than $800 billion earmarked by 2030 – as well as creating new jobs and growing the contribution of tourism to GDP.”

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