Saudi Arabia is world’s second fastest growing tourism destination: WTO

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  • Travel
PUBLISHED 18 May 2023

Saudi Arabia is the world’s second fastest growing tourism destination, data from the World Tourism Organization (WTO) revealed on Wednesday.


The Kingdom saw international tourism exceed pre-pandemic levels in Q1 of 2023 by a total of 64 percent with about 7.8 million tourists visiting in the first few months of the year, according to the WTO.Saudi Arabia also ranked 13th globally as one of the most visited by international tourists in 2022, moving up 12 places on the WTO Index from 25th place in 2019. According to the data, the number of international tourists who visited the Kingdom – for all travel purposes – was 16.6 million in 2022.

On the international tourism revenue index, Saudi Arabia moved up to 11th place in 2022, compared to 27th place in 2019. The data are the result of the Saudi leadership’s efforts to enhance the Kingdom’s position on the global tourism map and improve the sector’s contribution to the country’s GDP, Minister of Tourism Ahmed al-Khateeb said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA). Facilitating travel visa procedures, planning promotional campaigns across the globe, and the diversity of destinations that exist within Saudi Arabia all played a part in making the country an attractive travel destination for tourists, the minister added.

The efforts are all part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 economic reform plan – put forth by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – to diversify the country’s economy and develop its non-oil sectors, SPA reported.

The tourism minister also stressed that the ministry would continue to cooperate with partners from the public and private sectors to push toward transforming the Kingdom into a global tourism hub.