RIYADH — Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb said that 27 million foreign tourists arrived in Saudi Arabia during the year 2023. “The new strategy of Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman for the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 targets attracting 150 million tourists, including 80 million from within the Kingdom and 70 million from abroad,” he said.
Al-Khateeb made the remarks during his speech at the second edition of the Public Investment Fund and Private Sector Forum, organized by the Public Investment Fund in Riyadh on Tuesday. He said that the Tourism Development Fund has provided financing worth SR35 billion since its establishment. The private sector has signed contracts to establish 75,000 hotel rooms. “Today we have 280,000 hotel rooms, and we aim to reach the 550,000 hotel rooms targeted for the year 2030,” he added.
Al-Khateeb confirmed last month that Saudi Arabia is expanding the implementation of major projects aimed at developing the tourism sector and attracting investments into this vital sector. Attending a dialogue session titled “Leading the Transformation in the Real Estate Industry” at the Real Estate Future Forum, the minister stated that Saudi Arabia aspires to attract 150 million visitors by 2030 and that tourism sector will contribute SR750 billion to the national economy.
The minister also highlighted the recovery achieved by Saudi Arabia in the number of tourist arrivals during the year 2023 by 156 percent, compared to the year 2019, exceeding the global rate of recovery from the effects of the pandemic by 88 percent.
Al-Khateeb noted that the successes achieved in the tourism sector confirm that the strategies and plans that were developed are now proceeding correctly. Last year the sector’s contribution increased to 4.5 percent of GDP, and seven percent of non-oil GDP. “We created many jobs in the tourism sector, indicating that the state’s expansion in establishing major projects was with the aim of developing the tourism sector and attracting investments to it, and competing for the 1.7 billion tourists in the world looking for all things available in Saudi Arabia,” he said.
The minister stressed that the quality of upcoming projects in the tourism sector related to hospitality facilities is very high, whether in hotels or resorts. “We have signed multiple agreements to enter major five-star hotels, and the finest hospitality facilities will be available in Saudi Arabia. After the issuance of the new tourism regulations, we began implementing monitoring and inspection campaigns to ensure compliance and we closed more than 250 hotels last year,” he said.
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