Thursday 13 June 2024

Saudi Arabia targets 70m international visitors

RIYADH, 22 days ago

Collaboration between stakeholders from the tourism and aviation sectors is crucial to achieve the ambitious tourism targets the Kingdom has set for itself and o dirve economic growth, Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Tourism, has said.
Speaking at the Future Aviation Forum in Riyadh, the minister highlighted the Kingdom’s efforts to leverage new air connections to boost inbound tourism and accelerate sector growth.
Recognised as the second fastest-growing tourism market globally in 2023, Saudi Arabia welcomed 107 million tourists, with 27.4 million of these being international arrivals. Tourism currently represents 4% of GDP in the Kingdom– with a target of 10% GDP contribution by 2030. Aiming to attract 150 million tourists by that year – of which 70 million will be international arrivals – global airlines and tour operators will play a key role in this development.
“Gathering here at the Future Aviation Forum, it is important to emphasise the intersecting relationship between tourism and aviation. Ensuring the strategic expansion and sustainability of air routes is critical for our tourism goals,” said Al-Khateeb during his keynote speech titled "Sky High Tourism – Unlocking Destinations and Cultural Exchange Now and in the Future."
In the past two years, Saudi Arabia’s air connectivity network expanded greatly, with Saudi airports adding 28 new routes from international destinations. In the first four months of 2024 alone, airlines from key markets in Europe and East Asia have initiated direct flights to the Kingdom. These airlines include China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Air China, ITA Airways, and Eurowings. With visitors from 66 countries now benefiting from the Saudi eVisa, the Kingdom’s tourism market has been on an upward trajectory in recent years.
Al-Khateeb added: “This growth is a testament to Saudi Arabia’s appeal to international partners as an emerging global tourism and aviation hub. Strengthening our route network requires expanding the international footprint of Saudi carriers and attracting foreign airlines to our airports. As such, we are strategically pursuing new partnerships.”
Through the National Aviation Strategy, Saudi Arabia aims to invest $100 billion in its aviation infrastructure to turn the Kingdom into a major global player, creating many new opportunities for investors and airline partnerships. Alongside upgrading the capacity of its main airports in Riyadh and Jeddah, the Kingdom’s aviation and tourism authorities are facilitating the arrival of several new airlines to Saudi airports. -TradeArabia News Service


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