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Ministry of Tourism KSA LogoIn a striking testament to its burgeoning appeal as a global tourism destination, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has surpassed its ambitious visitor target, welcoming over 100 million tourists in 2023, a milestone seven years ahead of its initial 2030 goal. This significant achievement has not only placed Saudi Arabia on the map as an emerging tourism powerhouse. Still, it has also garnered international acclaim, including praise from the United Nations’ Tourism sector and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

The Ministry of Tourism in Saudi Arabia, under the guidance of His Excellency Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb, has been at the forefront of this unprecedented growth. The Kingdom’s tourism sector’s success is a glowing endorsement of the National Tourism Strategy launched five years ago, part of the broader Vision 2030 initiative aimed at diversifying the Saudi economy beyond oil.

Saudi Arabia's achievement of welcoming +100 million tourists receives global recognition from UN Tourism and WTTC

Saudi Arabia’s achievement of welcoming +100 million tourists receives global recognition from UN Tourism and WTTC.

Saudi Arabia’s strategic investment in its tourism infrastructure and developing diverse and culturally rich tourist destinations have revolutionized the visitor experience. The Kingdom’s ambition does not stop here; with this landmark achievement, a new goal has been set to welcome 150 million tourists by 2030. This bold target underscores Saudi Arabia’s commitment to elevating its status as a premier global tourism destination, enhancing its economic prospects, and enriching its residents’ and visitors’ quality of life.

The economic impact of this tourism boom is undeniable. In 2023 alone, tourists’ spending in Saudi Arabia exceeded 250 billion riyals, contributing over 4% to the GDP and accounting for 7% of the non-oil GDP. This financial infusion has catalyzed the nation’s economic transformation, creating numerous job opportunities and generating substantial revenue.

Minister Al Khateeb’s vision for the sector is clear: to align Saudi Arabia’s tourism experiences with the best in the world, ensuring diverse options for visitors, enhancing hospitality services, and promoting sustainable tourism practices. These efforts aim not only to increase tourist numbers but also to elevate the overall quality of the tourism ecosystem within the Kingdom.

The statistics speak volumes about the success of these initiatives. In 2023, the total number of tourists reached 106.2 million, marking a significant 56% increase compared to 2019 and a 12% rise from the previous year. Notably, the influx of international visitors has seen a dramatic upswing, with 27.4 million international tourists exploring the Kingdom, representing a 56% increase from 2019 and a 65% rise compared to 2022.

Saudi Arabia’s strategic vision and concerted efforts in enhancing its tourism sector have achieved remarkable milestones and set the stage for future growth. As the Kingdom marches towards its ambitious 2030 targets, it continues redefining its global tourism position, promising an even brighter future for its economy and people.




Written by: Charmaine Lu