Press Dossier   News Category    Tourism    Saudi tourism strategy bearing fruit as revenue hits $9.8bn in Q1 of 2023, says official

Arab News, Thu, Sep 28, 2023 | Rabi Al-Awwal 13, 1445

​​Saudi tourism strategy bearing fruit as revenue hits $9.8bn in Q1 of 2023, says official

Saudi Arabia: As the world emerges from the shadows of the COVID-19 pandemic, Saudi Arabia is unveiling its true potential as a world-class tourist destination.

In just the first quarter of 2023, the Kingdom’s tourism sector revenues more than tripled to a staggering SR37 billion ($9.8 billion), said Abdullah Al-Harbi, the assistant deputy minister for investment enablement at the Tourism Ministry.

Speaking to Arab News on the sidelines of the Future Hospitality Summit in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, Al-Harbi said the Kingdom will continue to “amaze the world” with strategic reforms focusing on investment, innovation, and human development.

“The impressive numbers and growth have been achieved even before most of the megaprojects and initiatives have come fully live. So just imagine how much more we can achieve once they are fully operational,” the top official said.

Al-Harbi said the impressive growth is a result of the National Tourism Strategy that has set a clear path to boost the sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product.

“We are happy with the progress so far and we will continue to follow the same path to achieve more success and build one of the most attractive tourism sectors in the world,” he added.

Setting its sights on attracting 100 million tourists by 2030, the ministry acts as a regulator, orchestrator, and promoter of investment into the sector, Al-Habri explained.

“As a regulator, we ensure that the right and supportive regulatory environment exists for both visitors and investors alike to make Saudi Arabia visitable, sustainable, and investable,” he added.

“As a result of all of this, we have begun seeing an increase in investor interest and have already seen $5 billion of inward investment so far and we aim to continue building on this momentum,” Al-Harbi added.

Saudi Arabia is prioritizing innovation in its robust initiatives to bolster the tourism ecosystem.

“Innovation is a top priority, and our regulatory by-laws are designed to drive game-changing thinking while the Tourism Development Fund supports innovators and SMEs alike to nurture innovative ideas,” Al-Harbi said.

The government aims to generate up to 1.6 million jobs in the sector by 2030, which Al-Harbi described as a crucial part of the national strategy.“The sector will require 1.6 million jobs and we have been and will continue to train 100,000 tourism professionals annually in cooperation with leading global institutions. We have also been working with the Ministry of Education to integrate tourism education into the national curriculum,” he added.

To further strengthen collaboration between ministries and stakeholders in the Kingdom, a special committee has been formed.

“The Tourism Development Council was created to ensure full alignment and collaboration between all relevant stakeholders. In addition, the ministry works closely with the regional development authorities to align strategies and ensure proper and sustainable development of tourism destinations from visitor experience, investor journey, and human capital perspectives,” Al-Harbi stated.

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