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Press Dossier    By Date   01/04/2024 Tourist spending in Saudi Arabia hits record high of $40bn in 2023

Arab News, Mon, Apr 01, 2024 | Ramadan 22, 1445

​​Tourist spending in Saudi Arabia hits record high of $40bn in 2023

Saudi Arabia: Tourist spending in Saudi Arabia reached a record high in 2023, totaling SR135 billion ($39.95 billion), according to the latest official data.  

This figure, revealed by the Saudi Central Bank, represents the highest visitor spending in the Kingdom’s history, showcasing a growth rate of 42.8 percent compared to 2022. 

This comes within the framework of a series of continuous successes achieved by the tourism sector, the Saudi Press Agency reported.   

The Kingdom secured the top spot on the UN’s World Tourism Organization list for the growth rate of international tourist numbers in 2023 compared to 2019.  

This marked an increase of 56 percent in 2023, compared to 2019, according to the barometer report issued by the UNWTO in January 2024.  

The nation also saw a recovery rate of 156 percent in the number of visitors during 2023 compared to 2019, the report added.  

These significant accomplishments in the tourism sector have established Saudi Arabia as a leader in the Middle East region’s global tourism recovery. The region notably surpassed pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels with a 122 percent recovery rate in international tourist arrivals in 2023 compared to 2019. 

In February, the UNWTO deemed Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry a “beacon of innovation” as the Kingdom surpassed its Vision 2030 target of attracting 100 million visitors seven years ahead of schedule. 

This follows Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb's announcement during last year’s Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, where he revealed the Kingdom’s decision to raise its initial goal of attracting 100 million visitors by the end of the decade to 150 million. 

The expansion of the tourism industry has been further supported by regulatory adjustments, such as the approval of the new “Visiting Investor” visa by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Investment and Foreign Affairs. 

The momentum of this initiative has accelerated significantly, with the Kingdom ranking second globally in terms of tourist arrivals during the first seven months of 2023, as reported by the Saudi Press Agency in October. 

These accomplishments underscore Saudi Arabia’s status as a distinguished global tourist destination, highlighting travelers’ increasing confidence in the Kingdom’s diverse and attractive tourism offerings.

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