Monday, June 17, 2024

Saudi Arabia’s Travel & Tourism Sector Breaks Records in 2023 – VisaGuide.News

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Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry expanded by over 32 percent in 2023, thus contributing a record SR444.3 billion ($118.4 billion) to the nation’s gross domestic product.

According to a new report by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the Kingdom welcomed 100 million tourists during the same year, achieving its Vision 2030 target seven years early. The goal was then increased to 150 million to reflect Saudi Arabia’s continued ambitions for the sector, VisaGuide.World reports.

Positive Trajectory of 2023 in Tourism Sector Is Likely to Show Up Even in 2024

The same authority projected that the sector will maintain its rapid growth this year, too, with GDP contributions expected to reach SR498 billion. In this regard, employment in the sector is also forecasted to grow by more than 158,000 jobs, bringing the total to nearly 2.7 million.

International visitor spending is anticipated to hit SR256 billion, and domestic visitor spending is forecasted to reach SR155.2 billion.

Looking further ahead, WTTC forecasted that by 2034, the sector in Saudi Arabia would contribute SR836.1 billion to the GDP, comprising almost 16 percent of the economy.  The industry is expected to employ over 3.6 million people, with one in five Saudis working in tourism.

The sector’s expansion by over 32 percent last year represented 11.5 percent of the total economy, an increase of nearly 30 percent from the previous high. At the same time, it saw a significant rise in employment, adding 436,000 jobs to exceed 2.5 million, accounting for almost one in five jobs in the country.

Notably, employment in this field has increased by nearly 24 percent since the previous peak, recovering from pandemic-related losses by 2022.

International visitor spending surged by almost 57 percent, reaching SR227.4 billion and breaking the previous record of SR93.6 billion. Domestic visitor spending also grew substantially, rising by 21.5 percent to SR142.5 billion.

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.

WTTC President & CEO, Julia Simpson

Middle East Expected to Create 8.3 Million Jobs in Its Tourism Sector

WTTC report further revealed that in the Middle East, the sector also experienced substantial growth in 2023, increasing by over 25 percent to nearly $460 billion.

As a result, employment reached almost 7.75 million, international spending rose by 50 percent to $179.8 billion, while domestic spending grew by 16.5 percent to over $205 billion.

WTTC projected continued growth in 2024, with GDP contributions reaching $507 billion, jobs increasing to 8.3 million, international visitor spending hitting $198 billion, and domestic visitor spending surpassing $224 billion.

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