The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia opened its doors to international tourists for the first time in its history in September 2019. By March 2020, the Kingdom announced that it had issued more than 500,000 tourist visas, which makes it one of the most growing tourist destinations in the world. It is full of unique tourist treasures. It has attractive beaches, great mountain views and bustling cities.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has become a tourist destination for visitors, both local and international, and the tourism sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is developing the tourism plan by announcing many programs and initiatives.
Saudi tourism offers geographical and historical diversity, as it possesses many natural resources, archaeological treasures and great historical places, before the spread of the Covid 19 pandemic. The Saudi government issued more than 450,000 tourist visas during 2019 within the tourist visa program announced by the Saudi Commission Tourism in Saudi Arabia.
The authority has also set performance indicators commensurate with the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, by increasing the number of tourists over the course of a year to 100 million visitors by 2030, including 55 million international tourists and 45 million domestic tourists, which provides one million job opportunities and an increase in GDP. country by about 10%.
The authority has implemented several programs to attract tourists, and has also worked to activate tourism investment in partnership with the private sector. The authority has organized local and international tourism exhibitions, and launched many marketing and promotional campaigns for its tourism products and wonderful destinations.
The tourism sector is one of the main pillars on which the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s strategy by 2030 depends, which aims mainly at diversifying sources of income, attracting foreign investments, creating job opportunities and revitalizing tourism services such as flight reservations and services. Rent a car Indeed, tourism is witnessing rapid growth in the Kingdom as a result of plans to advance the sector.
On the other hand, the Kingdom is also interested in cruises from the port of Jeddah to discover the picturesque nature of the Red Sea, and they include many trips that provide travelers with an opportunity to enjoy.
The tourism sector is one of the main sectors for the growth of the Kingdom’s economy by 2030
There are eight sectors that are expected to represent the majority of Saudi Arabia’s economic growth by 2030, and the travel, tourism and hospitality sector is expected to account for about 11% of total GDP growth in that time period. In 2020, the tourism sector is likely to remain a major growth sector until 2030, especially as domestic tourism is on the rise while international tourism is slowing.
Makkah Al Mukarramah is located in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and is the holiest religious place in addition to many natural tourist sites such as beaches, mountains and valleys. The Kingdom is accelerating active steps to make tourism and hospitality more accessible, and this includes the privatization of some tourism services and the preservation of important cultural and historical sites.
The rise in global tourism in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
The number of international tourists in Saudi Arabia has doubled since 2005, thanks in large part to the easing of restrictions on tourist visas to enter the country. The number of Muslims who visit the holy sites in Mecca and Medina has increased from 10 to 13 million each year, including This includes more than two million during the annual Hajj period
The Kingdom also has a wealth of archaeological sites such as the UNESCO World Heritage Site Madain Saleh and areas of natural beauty such as coasts and mountains, so the Kingdom considers tourism as an opportunity for its economy to flourish.
Domestic tourism is a great opportunity for growth
Domestic tourism offers a great opportunity for economic growth, as local residents prefer to spend vacation and travel in different tourist areas. The Ministry of Tourism launched the Saudi summer campaign to encourage domestic tourism during the 2020 pandemic, and the Saudi summer resulted in consumers spending nearly $1.6 billion, an increase of 26% over the same period of 2019
As tourist sites become more developed, spending on domestic tourism is expected to increase and compete with sites such as Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
Improvements in Saudi Arabian Tourism
Saudi Arabia has seen many improvements in the tourism sector in recent years, as the government has made tourism a priority within its Vision 2030 program.
The Vision 2030 program is a strategy set by the Saudi government to improve the country in several different areas, and tourism is one of them. The increase in tourism has expanded the economy and improved the lives of citizens. With tourism, more forms of entertainment benefit Saudis and attract visitors from other countries.
How has tourism helped the economy?
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) states that in 2019 the travel and tourism sector accounted for about 9.8% of Saudi Arabia’s GDP, after that, the Covid-19 pandemic hit the tourism industry hard in 2020 to drop this percentage to 7.1%.
Even with the drop in tourism due to the pandemic, tourism in Saudi Arabia is still doing relatively well, for example: the tourism industry provided 12.2% of employment in Saudi Arabia as of 2019, dropping to 11% in 2020.
The development of the entertainment sector in Saudi Arabia
One of the goals of Vision 2030 is to create more entertainment for the Saudi people, where entertainment and tourism go hand in hand. One of the biggest developments in this aspect is the recent opening of a cinema in Saudi Arabia. Over the past several decades, there have been no cinemas in the country. Now, More than 30 new buildings have opened.
There is more than that, there has been an increase in entertainment venues in general from 154 in 2017 to 277 in 2020, these places vary from movie theaters to amusement parks, and it seems that the government of Saudi Arabia is determined to have an entertainment market successful.
By 2030, the entertainment sector is estimated to be $1170.72 million, as of 2020 the market value is $23.77 million. Tourism in Saudi Arabia will benefit from these changes because visitors will now have more entertainment options when they visit.
What is the Saudi government doing to achieve these goals?
The Vision 2030 program is where improvements in the field of entertainment stem from. One of the goals of Vision 2030 is to create a “vibrant society.” Tatweer is linked to improving the daily lives of Saudis while preserving cultural values, and the Saudi government implemented this to the General Authority for Entertainment (GAE) which Funding directly supports the improvement of the entertainment sector. An e-tourist visa, which costs $173, is also available, opening the legal way for people to enter the country.
What is the next step for tourism in Saudi Arabia?
The pandemic has slowed the progress of tourism and entertainment as non-essential visits to the country are halted. Revenues from the entertainment sector have suffered as well as employment of people working in the industry. Besides, the Kingdom now has a strong infrastructure to support the entertainment industry, and it is one of its priorities to achieve its goals from Vision 2030 and get back on the right track when the pandemic ends.
Source: موجز مصر by www.mogazmasr.com.
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