Tourism to contribute $70bn to Saudi Arabian economy in 2019

Saudi Arabia’s travel and tourism sector is expected to contribute $70.9 billion to the Kingdom’s GDP in 2019. (SPA)
Updated 29 April 2019
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Tourism to contribute $70bn to Saudi Arabian economy in 2019

  • Religious tourism will continue to be the biggest contributor
  • Leisure tourism is also gaining traction in Saudi Arabia, with various projects and initiatives under Vision 2030

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s travel and tourism sector is expected to contribute $70.9 billion to the Kingdom’s GDP in 2019, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.
International arrivals to the Kingdom are also expected to increase 5.6 percent per year from 17.7 million in 2018 to 23.3 million by 2023, according to research by Colliers in partnership with the Arabian Travel Market (ATM), which opened at the Dubai World Trade Center on Sunday.
Religious tourism will continue to be the biggest contributor to these numbers over the next decade, according to the research, with a goal of 30 million pilgrims to the Kingdom by 2030, an increase of 11 million from the 19 million Hajj and Umrah pilgrims that visited the country in 2017.
“More relaxed access to visas and the growth of the Umrah market are expected to be key drivers in the growth of international tourism in the Kingdom,” Danielle Curtis, Middle East exhibition director at the ATM, said in a statement.

Danielle Curtis, Middle East exhibition director at the ATM

But leisure tourism is also gaining traction in Saudi Arabia, with various projects and initiatives under the Vision 2030 reform plan already in progress.
“Saudi Arabia will see a vast expansion of its hotel and resort inventory during 2019, with over 9,000 keys of three, four and five-star international supply expected to enter the market,” Curtis said.
This will drive up competition in the country’s hotel scene, with projected growth in domestic and international visitors set to boost occupancy levels throughout 2019, according to Curtis.
A significant number of local tourist trips also adds to the upbeat forecast for the country’s tourism sector, with the number of domestic tourists exceeding 47 million in 2018, which Colliers said will increase to 70.5 million by 2023.


Trump demands India withdrawal of retaliatory tariffs

Updated 24 min 27 sec ago
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Trump demands India withdrawal of retaliatory tariffs

  • India slapped higher tariffs on 28 US products following Washington’s withdrawal this month of key trade privileges for New Delhi

NEW DELHI: US President Donald Trump on Thursday asked India to withdraw retaliatory tariffs that New Delhi imposed this month, calling the duties “unacceptable.”
India slapped higher tariffs on 28 US products following Washington’s withdrawal this month of key trade privileges for New Delhi.
“I look forward to speaking with Prime Minister Modi about the fact that India, for years having put very high tariffs against the United States, just recently increased the tariffs even further,” Trump said on Twitter.
“This is unacceptable and the tariffs must be withdrawn!” said Trump, who will meet Modi at this week’s G20 summit in Japan.


India’s trade ministry did not immediately respond to a Reuters email seeking comment.
Trump’s remarks could further worsen a trade row that has led to tit-for-tat tariffs from India and the United States and created an unease over the depth of their security alliance.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was in New Delhi on Wednesday, sought to reduce heightened trade tension with India, promising a renewed focus on negotiating better ties, but giving few specifics of how they would overcome disputes over trade and investment.
Trump scrapped trade privileges for India under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), under which New Delhi was the biggest beneficiary that allowed duty-free exports of up to $5.6 billion.
India initially issued an order in June last year to raise import taxes as high as 120 percent on a slew of US items, incensed by Washington’s refusal to exempt it from higher steel and aluminum tariffs.
But New Delhi repeatedly delayed raising tariffs as the two nations engaged in trade talks. Trade between them stood at about $142.1 billion in 2018.