RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has introduced more than 1,500 activities for tourists in partnership with the private sector to improve their overall experience, said the CEO of the Saudi Tourism Authority.
Speaking during the opening remarks of the second Saudi Tourism Forum in Riyadh, Fahd Hamidaddin underscored the Kingdom’s well-equipped resources required to realize its aspirations and goals, encompassing both natural and human components and support from trusted leadership.
“In tourism experiences (activities), last year we were talking about less than 500. Today, we have reached 1,500 tourist experiences. These experiences were primarily the result of private sector work,” Hamidaddin said.
He also stated that 17 tourism companies have joined the industry, bringing new partners and firms.
This sector’s expansion will continue generating higher demand, attracting 2 million tourists annually, the official said.
He emphasized a significant improvement in hourly flights, increasing 70 points.
The 70 points is a standardized metric for measuring the enhancement in the overall flight experience within the Kingdom.
However, Hamidaddin attributed this surge not only to a specific authority but to the collaborative efforts of the government system and the private sector.
“For example, in hotels, we have raised the level of services required by some tourist destinations in different languages in terms of taking care of tourists,” he explained.
During his speech, Hamidaddin stated that the forum will witness the signing of more than 50 agreements and memorandums of understanding between several participating parties.
“Our goal with this forum is to increase cooperation among all workers in the Saudi tourism sector and exchange experiences, ideas, and proposals. This is to ensure sustainability and affirm the Kingdom’s position as a global tourist destination,” he continued.
On the same day of the forum, Saudi Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb explained that major projects in the Kingdom aim to develop the tourism sector and attract investments.
This is in addition to competing for 1.7 billion global tourists seeking experiences the Kingdom already offers.
In October 2023, Al-Khateeb revised Saudi Arabia’s tourism 2030 targets to 150 million visitors, up from the initial 100 million. He explained that Saudi Arabia expects to reach its original goal by the end of 2023.
“I think we will close this year with about 100 million (visitors) and almost 6 percent of contribution to gross domestic product, that’s why His Royal Highness (Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman) instructed us to revise up our targets to 150 (million visitors),” Al-Khateeb said.
The minister elaborated that out of this new target, an estimated 75 million visitors are expected to be international, with the remaining 75 million being domestic travelers.
He also confirmed that the ministry will invest over $800 billion in the next 10 years to serve the sector.