Mecca Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia International Tourist Arrivals Soar to New Heights in 2023

Saudi Arabia’s international tourist arrivals have soared to unprecedented levels in the first half of 2023, marking a historic surge in the Kingdom’s appeal as a global destination. This significant achievement underscores the Kingdom’s growing prominence on the world tourism map, as reported by the Ministry of Tourism’s latest data.

The first half of 2023 has been groundbreaking for Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector. According to the Ministry’s preliminary data, the total number of tourists reached a staggering 53.6 million. This number includes a remarkable 14.6 million inbound tourists, demonstrating a 142% increase compared to the previous year. The surge in international visitors is a testament to the Kingdom’s successful strategies in enhancing its tourism products, improving visa structures, and offering high-quality services.

Domestic tourism also showed impressive growth, with a total of 39 million domestic tourists contributing to the overall tourism figures. The spending in the tourism sector reached an all-time high of SAR 150 billion, of which SAR 86.9 billion was attributed to inbound tourism, setting a new historical record for Saudi tourism.

This growth in tourism spending is partly due to an increase in the average length of stay. In the first half of 2023, domestic tourists stayed an average of 6.3 nights, up from 4.6 nights in the same period last year. This increase reflects the enhanced quality and variety of tourism experiences available within the Kingdom.

Leisure remains the primary purpose of visits, with an 18% increase compared to the first half of 2022. Notably, 16.6 million tourists, accounting for 43% of all domestic tourist trips, traveled for leisure purposes. This shift highlights the Kingdom’s diverse range of leisure activities and attractions that are drawing more visitors.

Outbound tourism also recorded significant growth. The number of outbound tourists increased by 37%, with their spending rising by 74% compared to the first half of 2022. This boost is attributed to the lifting of global travel restrictions and the onset of the summer season coupled with school breaks.

The Ministry of Tourism’s efforts have been pivotal in achieving these results. Their initiatives in enhancing tourism infrastructure, promoting cultural heritage, and improving service quality have made Saudi Arabia an attractive destination for international tourists. The continuous development of the tourism sector, including investment in new attractions and facilities, has played a crucial role in this growth.

The Ministry has also been effective in attracting non-Saudi residents as outbound tourists, who represented 45% of all outbound tourists in the first half of 2023, a 24% increase from the previous year. Their spending accounted for 66% of all outbound spending, indicating the sector’s broad appeal.

The Ministry’s data also reveals an interesting trend among Saudi outbound tourists. While there has been a 49% increase in the number of Saudis traveling abroad, mostly to neighboring countries, the average spend per night has decreased from 599 SAR in the first half of 2022 to 332 SAR in the same period in 2023. This change reflects the evolving preferences and spending patterns of Saudi tourists.

In conclusion, the soaring number of Saudi Arabia International Tourist Arrivals in 2023 is a clear indication of the Kingdom’s successful strategy in developing its tourism sector. With its rich cultural heritage, diverse landscapes, and commitment to enhancing tourist experiences, Saudi Arabia is set to continue its trajectory as a leading global tourism destination. For more detailed tourism statistics, dashboards, and publications, visitors can access the Ministry of Tourism’s website and the Tourist Intelligence Center.

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