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Saudi to invest $ 30.9 billion in tourism

  • Published by Vedat
The annual Arabian Travel Market (ATM) roadshow arrives in Riyadh Tuesday 18 February to deliver a presentation at the offices of the Saudi Commission for Tourism & Antiquities, to Saudi participants at this year’s exhibition.

Executives from Reed Travel Exhibitions, the organiser of ATM, are conducting a workshop ahead of this year’s 5-8 May event in Dubai, bringing together key industry figures in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to discuss marketing opportunities and how to showcase their proposition to ATM’s 21,000 trade visitors.

The Saudi government is investing heavily in its tourism sector, principally to provide employment opportunities for Saudi graduates. According to a 2013 MENA tourism and hospitality report by research consultancy aranca, investment in the travel and tourism sector is expected to increase at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 4% to SAR 30.9 billion over a ten year period from 2013 to 23.

“The travel and tourism sector’s direct contribution to Saudi Arabian GDP is projected to increase at a CAGR of 4% to SAR 83.7 billion by 2023. Put that into perspective it is equivalent to about 9% of current Saudi GDP, which is a great achievement, as the Kingdom looks to diversify its economy away from hydrocarbon receipts,” said Mark Walsh, Portfolio Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions.

The number of tourists visiting KSA is estimated to increase at a CAGR of 2% to 21.3 million over the period 2013 – 2023. Revenues will total SAR 60.9 billion by 2023 – due to an increase in the number of Hajj and Umrah tourists and growth of international shopping centres.

To cope with the increasing number of visitors, the Saudi government has outlined a plan to invest more than US$ 30 billion in its airports by 2020, including US$ 10 billion in private investment for the sector. More than US$ 12.5 billion has already been earmarked for the country’s four main international airports in Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam and Madinah.

“These four airports handle 91.5% of total air travel throughout the country, including 72.5% of domestic travel. Spending from leisure tourists is expected to rise at a CAGR of 4.4% to SAR 79 billion by 2023,” added Walsh.

Riyadh is the final leg of the six Middle East destinations being visited by the ATM team during its roadshow which took in Bahrain, Kuwait, Beirut, Muscat and Dubai last week.

A strong delegation from the Kingdom is expected at ATM. Led by the Saudi Commission for Tourism & Antiquities it includes, Saudia Airline, Umrah & Makarim Hospitality Group, Fursan Travel & Leisure, Hanco Rent a Car, EbreezTech, Rahhal International, and Unique Choice.

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