Business tourism demand growing fast in Riyadh

Business tourism demand growing fast in Riyadh
Updated 06 May 2013

Business tourism demand growing fast in Riyadh

Business tourism demand growing fast in Riyadh

Major Saudi tourism industry players are taking part in the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) to invest their resources in the local market to further consolidate Saudi Arabia's leading footprint in the tourism landscape.
Arabian Travel Market opens in Dubai today with 2,500 exhibitors from 87 countries.
The show has confirmed the participation of GCC and other Middle Eastern countries in addition to Europe, America and Far Eastern countries.
Saudi travel and tourism companies are now keen on making the most of the opportunities presented at travel and tourism events to further boost the sector and achieve their target of raising SR 67.8 billion worth of tourism revenues by 2016, mainly tapping the market for tourism for leisure and religious purposes in particular.
“Saudi Arabia is an extremely interesting market at the moment, and there is a strong push toward development of domestic tourism with 22.5 million residents looking for new experiences aside from the favored summer destination of Jeddah, as well as undertaking their Haj and Umrah commitments,” said Mark Walsh, portfolio director, Reed Travel Exhibitions.
Haj and Umrah travel generated $ 16.5 billion for the Kingdom in 2012 and business tourism demand is also growing, particularly for Riyadh.
Tourist arrivals are forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4 percent by 2022, driven by strong growth across all sectors.
“Tourism is currently the country’s second largest industry and this has huge significance for the economy as $ 80 billion worth of investment into key infrastructure projects including airport expansion, railways and roads comes to fruition in the next 10 years,” he told journalists.
Walsh said the UAE has long been a role model for regional tourism development, and recently released figures from the WTTC show that tourism in the Emirates is growing significantly faster than the world GDP growth average, contributing an impressive 14 percent to the UAE economy in 2012 — compared to the global trend of 9 percent — and expected to rise by 3.2 percent in 2013.”
Industry investment, which hit $ 22.5 billion last year is also set to increase in 2013, by an estimated 12%, as the country fully embraces the social and economic benefits of tourism, maximizing on the ongoing expansion of its airline route networks, and a healthy economic outlook.
Oman is also pursuing plans for tourism growth spurred by the government’s $ 39 million investment into development of Dhofar province, with the aim of making its annual Khareef (monsoon) festival an in-demand fixture on the global tourism calendar.
This is supported by forecasted hotel room capacity growth at a CAGR of 5.3 percent between now and 2016, which will see Oman swell its current base of 5,331 rooms by an additional 2,000 before the end of this year.
One of the fastest growing markets in the Gulf, Qatar is also moving ahead with its $ 65 billion investment plan that focuses on the state’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Over 85,000 new hotel rooms will bolster current inventory levels as Qatar looks to welcome as many as 3.7 million visitors per annum by the time the tournament kicks off.
The delegation will also showcase the best tourist attractions in the country, including Souq Waqif, Katara, Museum of Islamic Art, The Pearl-Qatar, Aspire, in addition to the various parks and malls.
In a separate pre-ATM media net work held Dusit Thani, Chaleermsak Suranat, Dubai and Middle East director of Thai Tourism Department told Arab News that the visitors to Thailand has been on the rise for the last two years.
“The number of visitors from the Middle East to Thailand has been increased. The UAE remains in top position bringing 108,994 visitors to Thailand in 2012. Other GCC countries, including Oman, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait also emerging as potential expanding market,” he added.