June 2, 2023

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The number of visitors to the kingdom increased by 64 percent in the first quarter, according to a report released by the World Tourism Organization, after the Saudi government made several facilities for tourists to enter the country, including electronic visas issued for a nominal fee. This year compared to the same period in 2019.

Experts told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Kingdom has been able to position itself on the world tourism map and has seen great improvement in international indicators after simplifying all procedures related to the entry of visitors through electronic visas issued with a nominal fee, which will double. Number of tourists visiting the country.

7.8 million tourists

According to the report, Saudi tourism has achieved international achievements, especially reaching the second place in the world in the growth rate of the number of international tourists in the first quarter of 2023, and the 11th and 13th places in indicators. Revenue and international tourists, last year.

Compared to the same period in 2019, Saudi tourism increased 12 places in the first quarter of this year.

The Kingdom continued its international achievements as it received about 7.8 million tourists for all purposes in the first quarter of this year, representing the highest quarterly performance in history, reaching 64 percent growth, making the country second. In the list of the most developed countries in the world during this period, according to the most recent data received by the organization.

Local production

Saudi Tourism Minister Ahmad Al-Khatib confirmed this achievement in addition to the Kingdom’s achievements in various fields as a culmination of the orders of the government represented by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz. , and his Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, according to Vision 2030, strive to improve the country’s position on the global tourism map and raise its contribution to the GDP.

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He pointed out that the development of visas and simplification of their procedures, in addition to promotional efforts in destination countries, and the diversity of tourism options and destinations in the Kingdom are among the reasons for achieving these achievements.

He explained that the ministry will continue its efforts in collaboration with all partners from the public and private sector to achieve the government’s aspirations of making the Kingdom a global tourism destination.

Earlier in the Travel and Tourism Development Index published by the World Economic Forum, the Kingdom achieved a new record as it moved up 10 places from 2019 to rank 33rd.

Simplify procedures

Nayef Al-Raji, vice-chairman of the board of directors of the Chamber of Commerce in Riyadh and head of the national tourism committee at the Federation of Saudi Chambers, told Azhar Al-Awsad that Saudi tourism is witnessing a quantum leap. It has become the center of attention of the world as more and more visitors flock to discover the various topographical and historical monuments. , entertainment programs designed to attract visitors as reflected in GDP.

Naif Al-Raji, the government has provided many facilities through electronic procedures, which allow international visitors to visit the Kingdom and get a unique experience to discover the most important landmarks of the country in the state of progress in tourism. system.

Naif Al-Raji added that the Kingdom’s progress in international tourism indicators reflects positively on the country and redoubles efforts to strengthen and develop the tourism sector to provide a unique experience to all visitors.

World player “Messi” and his children during his tour to Saudi Arabia (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Mega projects

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For his part, Majid Al-Hogair, General Manager and CEO of Abdul Mohsen Al-Hogair Company, told Asharq Al-Awsad that the developments in the tourism system in the Kingdom have doubled the number of international visitors, reflecting this. International indicators reveal that Saudi Arabia has made a big leap in the ranking of countries that are very popular among tourists.

Majid Al-Hogair added that the implementation of grand tourism projects in Saudi Arabia is still underway. The most important of which is “NEOM”, which includes “Oxagon”, “Qiddiya”, “Red Sea”, “Amaala” and other important projects that contribute to attracting international tourists to the Kingdom.

Abdul Mohsen Al-Hogair’s CEO said that the results of facilitating electronic visas have become concrete on the ground by increasing the number of visitors coming to discover the most important tourist areas of the Kingdom of diverse landscapes, cultures and weather rituals.

Diversification of the economy

Although the Kingdom didn’t actually open its doors to tourism until 3 years ago, by many indicators, it has taken a step forward in the field, with the opening of the World Tourism Organization’s Middle East headquarters in Riyadh.

A bulletin published by Saudi Arabia’s investment ministry said spending by international tourists in the kingdom rose to 27 billion riyals ($7.2 billion) in the first half of last year, with the number of visitors increasing by a total of 46 million. Tourists.

Saudi Arabia has set its sights on diversifying its economy and focusing on developing new activities, especially tourism, which is a fundamental pillar of the country’s vision, which aims to increase the sector’s contribution to GDP to 10 percent and receive 100 million. Visitors annually by 2030.

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