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Saudi Arabia Ranks No.1 in United Nations International Tourism Tourist Arrivals in 2023
Saudi Arabia Ranks No1 in United Nations International Tourism Tourist Arrivals in 2023

Saudi Arabia has topped the United Nations Tourism ranking for 2023, achieving an impressive 56% increase in international tourist arrivals compared to 2019.

The World Tourism Barometer report also highlighted the Kingdom’s outstanding 156% tourism recovery rate in 2023, which positions it as a leader in Middle East and Global Tourism. 

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Saudi Arabia’s Remarkable Tourism Growth

Image Credit Ministry of Tourism Saudi Arabia

In 2023, Saudi Arabia was recognized as the top country in terms of growth in international tourist arrivals among major tourist destinations, with a remarkable increase of 56% compared to 2019, according to the World Tourism Barometer Report, January 2024.

This growth was reflected in the SAR+100 billion spent by international tourists in the first three quarters of 2023. Saudi Arabia experienced a significant recovery of 156% in international tourist arrivals.

The remarkable surge in Saudi Arabia’s international tourist arrivals has set a new precedent for global tourism recovery. The Middle East region, with Saudi Arabia at its helm, is the only region worldwide to have surpassed pre-pandemic visitor numbers. 

The Catalysts for the Kingdom’s Success

The significant increase in both domestic and international visitors in 2023 has played a pivotal role in Saudi Arabia’s successful tourism growth. The diversification of the Kingdom’s destinations has attracted many tourists, making Saudi Arabia a global tourist hotspot.

The Impact of Tourism Growth 

Image Credit Ministry of Tourism Saudi Arabia

The exponential growth in Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector has positively impacted the Kingdom’s economy. It has contributed to the country’s GDP and created numerous job opportunities, thereby enhancing the livelihood of the Saudi population.

Saudi Arabia’s Commitment to Global Tourism

Saudi Arabia’s commitment to global tourism is evident in its proactive measures to enhance its tourism infrastructure and services. 

The country has invested significantly in developing tourist destinations, accommodation facilities, and transportation services to ensure a comfortable and memorable tourist experience.

The Kingdom’s Vision for the Future

Image Credit Vision 2030

Saudi Arabia envisions becoming a leading global tourist destination by 2030. The country’s Vision 2030 plan outlines strategic objectives to enhance the tourism sector, including increasing the number of tourist arrivals and the contribution of tourism to the Kingdom’s GDP.

A Global Leader in Tourism Recovery

Saudi Arabia’s remarkable feat in the tourism sector is a testament to its commitment to enhancing its tourism infrastructure and services. The country’s impressive growth in tourist arrivals and tourism revenue has positioned it as a global leader in tourism recovery. 

With its strategic vision for the future, Saudi Arabia is poised further to strengthen its position in the global tourism sector.

Upcoming Tourism Projects

Image Credit NEOM

Saudi Arabia’s NEOM, a visionary $500 Billion gigaproject, has recently revealed their latest project, Xaynor, a private members club situated on the picturesque Gulf of Aqaba coastline. 

Featuring a magnificent architectural design and meticulously crafted interior, Xaynor is dedicated to providing guests with luxurious and discreet experiences. 

Strategically positioned between the pristine coastline and the NEOM mountains, Xaynor offers a superb location for its exclusive members.

Image Credit NEOM

The NEOM giga project currently covers 11 distinct regions other than Xaynor, ranging from a 100-mile city called The Line to an all-year-round ski resort called Trojena:

Significant progress has been made in constructing new upcoming hotels in the prominent tourist spots of the NEOM gigaproject and The Red Sea Global, indicating a thriving hospitality sector in these areas.

Image Credit Marriott International

Marriott International’s presence in Saudi Arabia is set to grow significantly, with plans for 40 new hotels and over 11,000 rooms. Additionally, the company will expand into luxury destinations like NEOM and The Red Sea Project.

Image Credit Red Sea Global

The expansion includes luxury brands, including St. Regis, which is already open, Autograph Collection, The Ritz-Carlton Reserve, and several new hotel brands in the Holy Cities of Makkah and Madinah.

Image Credit Diriyah Company

Marriott International has recently revealed its plans to build a new Ritz-Carlton hotel in Diriyah, with an expected opening date of 2026. This move represents the company’s commitment to providing high-end hospitality services.

The five-star hotel is to be located within the $63 Billion Diriyah Giga Project and is due to feature 195 guest rooms and 34 luxury suites. 

Image Credit Diriyah Company

Diriyah Company and Ritz-Carlton have also announced the launch of the first luxury-branded Ritz-Carlton Residences in the Kingdom.

Wadi Safar Project

Image Credit Diriyah Company

The Diriyah Company has recently launched its newest luxurious development, known as Wadi Safar, referred to as the ‘Bel Air’ of Saudi Arabia, located within the massive Diriyah Giga project worth $63 billion. 

This exclusive community is planned to offer residences starting at a minimum of $25 million, targeting individuals with significant wealth and already having a waitlist.

Image Credit Diriyah Company

Located west of Diriyah, Wadi Safar is more than just a collection of luxury houses. In addition to lavish homes, the development will also offer a top-tier golf course, a prestigious equestrian center, and a polo club, enhancing the prestige of this high-end housing venture.

Jumeirah Jabal Omar Hotel

Image Credit Jumeirah International

The Dubai’s Jumeirah Hotel group has officially revealed the launch of their inaugural hotel in Saudi Arabia, the Jumeirah Jabal Omar Hotel, located in the sacred city of Makkah

Positioned in the center of Jabal Omar near the Grand Mosque, Al Masjid Al Haram, the hotel is in the second stage of the Jabal Omar development. 

With more than 1000 rooms and suites, a significant number of which offer direct views of the haram, the hotel strives to offer unparalleled experiences for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims.

The Rise of Riyadh Air

Image Credit Riyadh Air

The economy of Saudi Arabia is focused on diversification and has been making significant progress in the tourism industry. A major effort in this direction is the introduction of Riyadh Air, backed by the Public Investment Fund (PIF,) which is set to begin operations in 2025.

Riyadh Air plans to serve more than 100 destinations worldwide by 2030. The country’s determination to diversify its economy is evident in its ambitious plans for tourism and the substantial investments being made to achieve them.

Keep Reading: Visitors to Saudi Arabia Spent Over $26 Billion in First 9 Months of 2023

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