Tourism Sector is Moving Saudi Arabia toward Economic Diversification

Saudi Arabia is transforming the nation’s economy. The proof? Just look at ongoing efforts in the Kingdom’s tourism sector.

To date, Saudi Arabia has recorded tremendous growth in tourism related events and festivals. A recent Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) report found that between 2005 and 2016, the Kingdom held over 730 tourism festivals that attracted 85 million visitors—28 million of them being tourists. The festivals generated more than $2.13 billion and created some 86,000 temporary jobs. 70 percent of them supported youth employment.

This summer alone, SCTH, in partnership with tourism development councils and municipal authorities, organized more than 113 tourism festivals. SCTH expects this innovative approach to attract more than 12.5 million visitors and help create more than 91,000 temporary jobs by the end of this summer.

In 2016—and at the heels of SCTH’s internal leadership changes—Saudi Arabia increased the number of licensed tourist accommodation facilities from 1,402 to 6,527. This 365% growth rate reflected Saudi’s active and continuous commitment to contribute to economic diversification.

In Saudi Arabia, Tourism is Booming

Saudi Arabia’s 2017 summer festivals have consisted of a broad array of activities “including cultural, heritage, sports, adventure, environment, entertainment, and shopping events,” SCTH’s media department explained. The boom in tourism and expansion in entertainment have supported Saudi Arabia’s hospitality sector. Today, the Kingdom boasts 1,582 hotel options, with 42 hotels expected to open by end of year, and another 219 hotels currently under construction.

At the same time, Saudi Arabia just announced that it would start developing a massive Red Sea tourist project to leverage this activity, and further diversify the Kingdom’s economy. This massive luxury resort not only appeals to the international beach vacationer, but also reflects an innovative way to spur growth in the tourism industry.

Read more at Arab News.