By 2030, Saudi Arabia has declared its primary aim of drawing 100 million tourists every year, regardless of the top tourism destinations of the world being unable to reach such a figure.
To quote the Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb, “This step will move the Kingdom’s current position in the tourism rank from 21 to number 5 globally in the proportion of the number of tourists.”
As per the World Economic Forum, in 2018, France was the most visited country with a record of almost 90 million tourists. A target of 100 million is, therefore, quite desirous.
The minister draws round a series of plans to boost up tourist numbers to the Kingdom, including the setting up of an additional 500,000 hotel rooms, generating one million jobs for the nationals of Saudi Arabia and the training of tour guides that would help in increasing their numbers from 900 to 13,000. Such changes, is expected to increase tourism’s contribution to the GDP from three to 10 per cent in coming decade.
In spite of marketing Kingdom’s hundred and above historical sites, many remain doubtful about Saudi Arabia turning out to be a top tourist destination given that it has only recently launched its tourism sector.
These measures are anticipated to open up the Kingdom’s international tourism. A new visa system has been introduced. It would allow visitors to go to Saudi Arabia for the purpose of tourism rather than business exclusively. Previously family reunions or religious pilgrimages were the case.
Fighting for months due to the pandemic, the government in Riyadh declared plans in June to launch a $4 billion tourism development fund. It’s expected to boost up the industry when the ill effects of Covid-19 pass. In Sep, the fund signed a deal with two of the banks of the country to provide $43 billion worth of tourism projects across the Kingdom.