In terms of visitor numbers, Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry remains bigger than Dubai’s. In the first quarter of this year, the Kingdom had 7.8 million tourists, while Dubai had 4.7 million.
Saudi Arabia has historically inched ahead of Dubai when it comes to arrival figures, while the glamorous emirate dominates when it comes to spending. In 2019, KSA had 17.5 million visitors compared to Dubai’s 16.8 million, with Saudi benefitting from a steady religious tourism market which brought in 9.3 million people in that year.
Dubai last year was the world’s top destination when it comes to international traveller spend, raking in $29.42 billion, according to WTTC. That is almost double second place, Doha’s $16.79 billion. Saudi Arabia did not make the top 10 list even though it had around two million more visitors than Dubai.
According to the World Tourism Organization (WTO) index, Saudi Arabia secured the 13th position globally among the leading countries in terms of international tourist arrivals in 2022. This marked a significant improvement from its previous ranking of 25th in 2019.
WTO reported that the Kingdom welcomed a total of 16.6 million international tourists in 2022 for various travel purposes.
Furthermore, Saudi Arabia made impressive strides in the international tourism revenue index, climbing 16 spots to claim the 11th position in 2022, a substantial leap from its 27th ranking in 2019. These findings were outlined in the World Tourism Barometer report for May 2023, released by the WTO.
In the first quarter of 2023, the Kingdom experienced its highest quarterly performance to date, attracting approximately 7.8 million international tourists for all purposes. This figure represents a 64 percent increase compared to the same period in 2019. The country also emerged as the second-fastest growing tourism destination during this period, as per the latest data from the WTO.
Saudi Arabia’s ambitions to strengthen its global tourism standing and boost its contribution to the gross domestic product align with the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 initiative.
Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb attributed these accomplishments to the facilitation of travel visa procedures, targeted promotional campaigns in key countries, and the diverse range of tourism destinations within the Kingdom.
Moreover, the Minister stressed the ministry’s commitment to collaborating with both public and private sector partners to transform Saudi Arabia into a prominent global tourism hub.
Notably, Saudi Arabia achieved a milestone in the Travel and Tourism Development Index (TTDI) issued by the World Economic Forum (WEF), securing the 33rd position globally. This represented a significant improvement of ten ranks compared to 2019.
Source: Hotelier Middle East