Saudi Arabia kept a secret on World Tourism Day

HE Saudi Arabia Tourism
His Excellency Mr. Ahmed Al Khateeb, Minister of Tourism - image courtesy of WTTC
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The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Tourism hosted the World Tourism Day on September 27 – and WTD2023 is making history.

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Tourism Ahmed bin Aqil al-Khateeb did not tell the world his formula to make World Tourism Day 2023 magical and successful, but those invited to the Kingdom for this occasion lived it – and are spreading the word.

World Tourism Day

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has celebrated World Tourism Day every year in a different country since 1980.

The date marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Statutes of the Organization in 1970, paving the way for the establishment of UNWTO five years later.

This year World Tourism Day was hosted by the Ministry of Tourism in Saudi Arabia.

When Saudi Arabia hosts a global event, it’s never just like another celebration.

Saudi Arabia knows how to put up an amazing event with even more amazing results.

This doesn’t come from nothing, and it’s not always just having the money to pay for it. Saudi Arabia certainly has the money. Its tourism industry is worth $93.4 billion this year, according to WTTC Chairman Arnold Donald.

A secret the Saudi minister would not tell you

WD828 | eTurboNews | eTN

“His Excellency the Minister of Tourism for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ahmed bin Aqil al-Khateeb was behind every single detail, ” said HE Gloria Guevara, the ministers’ top advisor.

500 leaders in the global travel and tourism industries, including 100 CEOs of major companies participated.

Ministers attending WTD 2023

Among the 50 attending ministers was Hon. Haim Katz from Israel. His visit to Saudi Arabia has caused global attention and is seen as a visit of great geo-political importance. IIPT saw it as a sign of peace through tourism.

The hard work by HE Al-Khateeb and his team is paying off, not only for Saudi Arabia but also for many countries that now do business with the kingdom. The Saudi Tourism Minister is seen as the most relevant of his peers in the current tourism world.

HE Al-Khateeb said it:

“Saudi Arabis is helping define the future of tourism in a sustainable way, especially with the center being set here in Riyadh for decades and generations to come.’ HE Al Khateeb explained.

Tourism contributed to Saudi Arabia being seen as a progressive country following the vision of its leader.

wtd2023 1 | eTurboNews | eTN

World Expo 2030

Saudi Arabia is a logical candidate to host World Expo 2030, going along very well with its tourism activities under Vision 2030.

al-Khateeb’s leadership goes beyond Saudi Arabia. The current standing of Saudi Arabia, its stable economy, and its willingness to cooperate, invest, and take leadership have earned the minister the title of a global tourism minister.

Tourists visiting Saudi Arabia

Last year, Saudi Arabia welcomed 16.7 Million international visitors and was the fastest-growing country in the G20.

In the first 7 months of 2023, the Kingdom already received the same number of international tourists it received the entire year in 2022. It means 2023 will be another record year. Saudi Arabia grew 8.7% of its GDP when the average is 3.1

An International Dream Team

The Saudi Minister is known to bring the sector together on all levels. He has put together an international dream team of dedicated experts and consultants from around the world.

This dream team was able to efficiently get one mega project after another off the ground, and invest in opportunities around the world.

Saudi Arabia has many new friends

Saudi Arabia Tourism has developed new friendships around the globe at the same time, that were unthinkable just about 10 years ago.

The country is converting into an open society of young people who want to be part of the ever-emerging changes that happen on a daily basis. They also want to be independent from the rest of the world developing their own niche.

Riyadh is a great world metropolis to experience Arabian nightlife in a new style.
Sports, Entertainment, luxury, culture, shopping – the Kingdom offers it all.

Peak through the window at Saudis Tourism Ministry

When staying in one of the hotels in the diplomatic quarters in Riyadh, and driving by the building of the Ministry of Tourism, lights in conference rooms with busy staff are often on until late into the night.

A young team of progressive and inventive people is working for the ministry. Saudis and expats, highly educated and motivated are a mix of a dream team, that never sleeps – and this is the Ministry of Tourism of Saudi Arabia.

At World Tourism Day on Wednesday, this hard work paid off again, when the tourism world was able to come together in the Kingdom.


WTTC’s global summit was hosted in Riyadh last year November opening the doors to the private sector sector.

WTTC and its president and CEO Julia Simpson were back along with top WTTC members to be part of the Saudi Style Tourism celebration for World Tourism Day.


About the author

Avatar of Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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