Saudi Arabia will be on to the World Travel Market (WTM) exhibition floor for the first time this year, as the Saudi government unveils plans to invest heavily into its tourism industry over the next decade.
Representation from The Saudi Commission for Tourism & Antiquities (SCTA), along with the country’s national airline Saudi Airlines and flynas, the leading low cost Saudi airline offering cheap flights to the Middle East, Europe and Asia will all be exhibiting at WTM in London from the 3 – 6 November 2014.
Last year WTM facilitated business deals worth more than £2.2 billion – with Middle Eastern exhibitors benefiting from £144 million of business. This was generated through contracts signed with WTM Buyers’ Club members at the event or from further negotiations, which will conclude before WTM 2014.
The plan for the Saudi government to invest over £18 billion in tourism from 2013 to 2023 was reported last year in a MENA tourism and hospitality report by research consultancy Aranca. Their main objectives are to provide employment opportunities for the many Saudi graduates and cope with the increasing number of visitors, which is estimated to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2% to 21.3 million over the next decade.
The SCTA recently announced its £1.85 million plan to set-up tourist information centres across the country that provides information on domestic events.
Ramadan festivals have just been held in several regions around Saudi, with the country witnessing an upward trend in domestic tourism. The SCTA reporting a 25% increase in domestic trips in the Kingdom from 19 million in 2012 to 23.8 million trips being made last year.