RIYADH: Tourists continued to flock to Saudi Arabia in the second quarter of 2022, with the Kingdom seeing a huge 575.4 percent increase on the same period a year earlier.
Some 3.6 million visitors traveled to the Kingdom in the three months to the end of June, according to figures released by the Ministry of Investment, while the number of domestic tourists in Saudi also climbed by 42.3 percent to hit 21.4 million.
The monthly bulletin of MISA showed that inbound tourist spending rose by 570 percent in the second quarter to SR15.7 billion ($4.18 billion), while domestic tourist spending increased by 31.5 percent to SR22.7 billion during the same period.
Over the first half of the year, spending by international tourists in the Kingdom reached SR27 billion as the number of visitors surged to 46 million during the same period.
The National Tourism Strategy of Saudi Arabia is planning to attract 100 million tourists by the end of this decade, in line with the goals outlined in Vision 2030.
The strategy also aims for the tourism sector to contribute 10 percent to the Kingdom’s overall gross domestic product as Saudi Arabia is diversifying its economy which has been dependent on oil for several decades.
As Saudi Arabia continues its tourism initiatives, the Kingdom advanced 10 positions to rank 33 in the latest travel and tourism development index.
In November, during the World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit, Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb said the Kingdom is offering investment opportunities worth $6 trillion in the travel and tourism sector through to 2030.
He also added that Saudi Arabia is evolving both as a rapidly developing destination and as a global partner which is driving change across the travel and tourism sector.
During the event, Saudi Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih noted that the ministry and the Public Investment Fund are supporting the tourism sector in the Kingdom, to accelerate the economic diversification strategy.
Saudi Arabia is developing several projects as a part of its tourism strategy, and the most noted one is NEOM, the $500 billion future megacity, which will feature a nature reserve, coral reefs and heritage sites on several islands along the Red Sea, and Qiddiya.
While speaking at WTTC Summit, NEOM’s CEO Nadhmi Al-Nasr said that the megacity has all the geographical advantages to emerge as a global tourism hub.
“We are just two hours from Europe. Believe it or not, we see Africa within miles. We are a connection of three continents,” he noted.