Saudi Arabia's Alluring Feat: UNWTO Celebrates 100 Million Tourists |
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In a commendable milestone celebrated by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has successfully welcomed over 100 million tourists, surpassing expectations and achieving this remarkable feat seven years ahead of its original schedule. This accomplishment underscores Saudi Arabia's ascension as a global tourism powerhouse and emphasizes its pivotal role in fostering economic diversification and sustainable development in the global tourism sector.

The achievement, marked by the arrival of over 27 million international tourists and over 79 million domestic tourists, coupled with a combined total spend exceeding USD 67 billion, not only showcases the robust nature of Saudi Arabia's tourism sector but also highlights the commitment of the Saudi Ministry of Tourism to advanced data gathering and statistical analysis—a priority endorsed by UNWTO.

The Kingdom's success narrative is grounded in strategic initiatives and reforms that have propelled its tourism sector to unprecedented heights. With a notable 390% surge in demand for tourism activity licenses in 2023 and tourism's contribution to the non-oil Gross Value Added (GVA) estimated to surpass 7%, Saudi Arabia's vision for the future is resolute. The tourism sector's direct contribution to the GDP is projected to exceed 4%, illustrating the country's resilience, innovation, and pursuit of excellence.

Collaborative efforts and global leadership have been key elements in Saudi Arabia's tourism success story. The close collaboration with UNWTO, marked by the inauguration of UNWTO's Regional Office for the Middle East in Riyadh in 2021, signifies a significant step towards fostering tourism innovation, education, and rural development. This partnership has been instrumental in positioning Saudi Arabia as a leader in sustainable tourism practices and statistical excellence.

Elevating its global standing, Saudi Arabia led the G20 in international tourist growth rate in 2023 compared to 2019, showcasing its pivotal role in the global tourism sector's recovery post-pandemic. The Middle East, notably, emerged as the sole region to not only rebound but also surpass pre-pandemic tourism levels, with a 122% recovery in international tourist arrivals in 2023 compared to 2019. At the forefront of this remarkable growth, Saudi Arabia witnessed an impressive 156% recovery in international tourist arrivals compared to 2019, underscoring its central role in the region's tourism boom.

The resilience of Saudi Arabia's tourism sector is evident in the noteworthy increase in inbound spending, surpassing USD 37 billion in 2023, along with a substantial rise in hotel keys across the kingdom. These achievements stand as a testament to Saudi Arabia's commitment to building a prosperous and sustainable tourism sector.

The employment opportunities created by the tourism sector form a cornerstone of Saudi Arabia's success. As of 2023, the sector has generated 925.5 thousand jobs, coupled with significant investments in training, positioning tourism to become the second-largest employer by 2030. This focus on workforce development ensures that the benefits of tourism growth are shared widely and sustainably.

UNWTO extends its congratulations to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for this historic achievement, commending the leadership, the Ministry of Tourism, and all partners for their unwavering support and dedication. As Saudi Arabia continues its trajectory towards welcoming 150 million tourists by 2030, UNWTO looks forward to supporting its journey, celebrating its successes, and advocating for a more resilient, sustainable, and inclusive future for global tourism.

Saudi Arabia's accomplishment of surpassing 100 million tourists in 2023 serves as an inspiring example of what collaboration, innovation, and a clear vision for the future can achieve. The Kingdom not only promises a diverse and enriching tourism experience but actively delivers on that promise, paving the way for a brighter future for the global tourism industry.

Reported Information from UNWTO

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