Published on : Wednesday, February 15, 2017
By 2026, Saudi Arabia’s travel and tourism sector is expected to contribute more than $81 billion to the country’s GDP, according to a data by the WTTC. In a way, this is driven by domestic tourism – the number of local tourist trips undertaken inside Saudi Arabia, which went to 47.5 million last year. As per the Saudi government’s vision 2030, plans are in the pipeline for increasing household spending on cultural and entertainment activities inside the country .
According to Simon Press, senior exhibition director, ATM 2017, “Plans are already well underway to achieve this target. The government has appointed the board of the General Entertainment Authority, and Six Flags has revealed exciting plans to expand into the country, with the first entertainment park scheduled to open as soon as 2020-21.
Vision 2030 also seeks to double the number of UNESCO heritage sites to encourage more domestic tourism, while both Holy Mosques have large expansion plans, and Makkah and Madinah have major infrastructure works underway or in the pipeline that would assist with travel to and within these religious sites.” At this year’s Arabian Travel Market (ATM) which is being held in the Dubai World Trade Centre from April 23-27, Saudi exhibitors are planning to showcase what the Kingdom has to offer.
Besides the probable Six Flags theme park, Riyadh is also expected to see the opening of two major shopping malls. Another mammoth project that is bound to draw Saudi tourists includes Kingdom Tower in Jeddah – proposed to be the world’s next tallest building. Domestic tourism in Saudi Arabia is expected to grow by 7.5% per annum until 2020.
To quote Press, “We expect 2017 to be more positive, with a particularly strong focus on leisure, religious and domestic tourism as the country looks to increase the contribution from the non-oil sectors.”
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