Saudi Arabia International Arrivals Up 156% in 2023

Saudi Arabia International Arrivals Up 156% in 2023
Saudi Arabia International Arrivals Up 156% in 2023
Written by Harry Johnson

Saudi Arabia has taken the lead in the region, surpassing pre-pandemic tourism levels with a remarkable 22% growth in 2023 compared to 2019.

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According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Barometer report, published in January 2024, Saudi Arabia has achieved a remarkable milestone in the field of tourism by completely recovering and exhibiting a 56% increase in international arrivals in 2023 as compared to the year 2019 (which was the year before the pandemic).

The Kingdom’s economic growth has been boosted by this remarkable recovery, establishing it as a prominent force in the revival of tourism in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia has taken the lead in the region, surpassing pre-pandemic tourism levels with a remarkable 22% growth in 2023 compared to 2019.

Globally, the tourism sector is steadily rebounding. By the end of 2023 the global average achieved 12% below pre-pandemic levels in international arrivals, with about 1.3 billion international arrivals. The sector’s international revenues neared $1.3 trillion, reaching 93% of the 2019 figure of $1.5 trillion. The direct contribution of tourism to the global GDP was estimated at 3%, or $3.3 trillion, in 2023, based on the UNWTO’s preliminary indicators.

Looking ahead, the UNWTO forecasts a complete recovery of global tourism from the COVID-19 pandemic by 2024, with an expected growth of 2% compared to 2019.

Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector stands out in the UNWTO reports, leading the G20 nations in the growth rate of international arrivals in 2023 and ranked 2nd as the world’s fastest-growing tourist destination for Q1-Q3 2023.

The Kingdom has seen remarkable growth in various tourist destinations, achieving a record in international visitor spending. The first three quarters of 2023 recorded an international visitor spending exceeding 100 billion Saudi riyals, according to the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA). The travel item of the balance of payments showed a surplus of approximately 37.8 billion Saudi riyals by the end of the third quarter of 2023, a 72% growth from the same period in 2022.

These milestones underscore Saudi Arabia’s emergence as a unique and globally recognized tourist destination. The growing traveler confidence in the Kingdom’s diverse and appealing tourism offerings is evident.

In 2024, the Ministry of Tourism looks forward to sustaining its impressive growth, highlighting a variety of destinations, including AlUla, Diriyah, Yanbu, and Abha, among others. The year is set to feature prominent events like the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Diriyah E-Prix, world-class boxing matches, Jeddah Season, Riyadh Season, and the Biennale. These destinations and events are part of Saudi Arabia’s strategic approach to enhance its global tourism appeal. The forthcoming year offers substantial opportunities for international investors in the tourism sector. The Ministry invites visitors and investors worldwide to explore the diverse and rich experiences Saudi Arabia offers, as detailed through our ‘Visit Saudi’ platform.

In line with Saudi Vision 2030, the Ministry of Tourism is committed to the ongoing development of the sector, further strengthening its contribution to the national economy.

WHAT TO TAKE AWAY FROM THIS ARTICLE:

  • According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Barometer report, published in January 2024, Saudi Arabia has achieved a remarkable milestone in the field of tourism by completely recovering and exhibiting a 56% increase in international arrivals in 2023 as compared to the year 2019 (which was the year before the pandemic).
  • Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector stands out in the UNWTO reports, leading the G20 nations in the growth rate of international arrivals in 2023 and ranked 2nd as the world’s fastest-growing tourist destination for Q1-Q3 2023.
  • In line with Saudi Vision 2030, the Ministry of Tourism is committed to the ongoing development of the sector, further strengthening its contribution to the national economy.

About the author

Harry Johnson

Harry Johnson has been the assignment editor for eTurboNews for mroe than 20 years. He lives in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is originally from Europe. He enjoys writing and covering the news.

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