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Saudi tourism to reach $81 billion by 2026


Saudi Arabia’s travel and tourism sector is expected to contribute more than $81 billion to the country’s GDP by 2026, according to data from the World Travel and Tourism Council, as exhibitors prepare to showcase what the Kingdom has to offer at this year’s Arabian Travel Market (ATM), which is being held in the Dubai World Trade Centre from April 23-27 2017.

This is being driven, in part, by domestic tourism - the number of local tourist trips inside Saudi Arabia, exceeded 47.5 million last year (2016) - a 2.3 per cent rise compared to 2015. Under the Saudi Government’s Vision 2030, plans are afoot to increase household spending on cultural and entertainment activities inside the country, from 2.9 per cent to 6 per cent.

Simon Press, Senior Exhibition Director, ATM 2017, commented: “Plans are already well underway to achieve this target. The government has appointed the board of the General Entertainment Authority, and Six Flags has revealed exciting plans to expand into the country, with the first entertainment park scheduled to open as soon as 2020-21.

“Vision 2030 also seeks to double the number of UNESCO heritage sites to encourage more domestic tourism, while both Holy Mosques have large expansion plans, and Makkah and Madinah have major infrastructure works underway or in the pipeline that would assist with travel to and within these religious sites.”

Saudi exhibitors at ATM 2017 will highlight what the Kingdom has to offer and the exciting developments in the pipeline. As well as the possible Six Flags theme park, Riyadh is also expected to see the opening of two major shopping malls: Mall of Saudi, with 300,000 square metres of retail and entertainment space, a large snow park and hotels, and The Avenues Riyadh, a $1.9bn shopping complex. Another mega project that is bound to draw Saudi tourists includes Kingdom Tower in Jeddah – proposed to be the world’s next tallest building.

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