According to the newly published UNWTO Tourist Barometer, Saudi Arabia’s exponential industry development has experienced an astonishing +121% increase from pre-pandemic international tourism levels. The significant tourist rebound highlights not just Saudi Arabia’s thriving tourism investment, but also the country’s pioneering leadership in future-proofing its tourism sector.
Saudi Arabia responded rapidly to the pandemic, rolling out vaccinations to assure high immunization rates, which facilitated the relaxation of restrictions and reopening of the country to tourists. The government also undertook several initiatives targeted at assisting businesses and employees in the tourist industry, therefore minimizing the consequences of the pandemic. Tourism is a fundamental pillar of Saudi Arabia’s transformational Vision 2030, and the nation has lofty ambitions to guarantee that tourism contributes 10% of the country’s GDP by 2030, while also creating one million employments.
According to the UNWTO Tourism Barometer, foreign visitor arrivals nearly tripled (+172%) from January to July 2022 compared to the same period in 2021. This indicates that the industry has returned to over 60% of its pre-pandemic levels.
His Excellency Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia, and Chairman of the Board of Saudi Tourism Authority said: “Recognition of Saudi’s achievements in the UNWTO Tourism Barometer is a key milestone in our extraordinary recovery and much of the success lies in our leadership’s multipronged approach to managing the pandemic and accelerating the sector’s pace of recovery. Saudi opened to the world in September 2019 and through continued leadership and commitment, we have made incomparable progress toward realizing our ambitious Vision 2030 tourism goals. We are invested in a sustainable future for tourism, and today I am proud of Saudi’s position as the fastest-growing tourism destination in the G20.”
Saudi Arabia’s G20 leadership designed recovery policies in 2020 to build a more sustainable and resilient sector, and Saudi Arabia now outperforms G20 nations in pre-pandemic tourist recovery.