RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has topped the G20 countries for the flow rating of international tourists in the first seven months of 2022, according to a report released by the World Tourism Organization.
The report, released during the G20 tourism ministers’ meeting held in Bali, Indonesia, did not detail the exact number of travelers who visited the Kingdom, but claimed the sector saw a growth rate of 121 percent in the first half of 2022.
During the event Saudi Arabia’s tourism minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb said the surge in tourist inflow aligns with the Kingdom’s economic diversification policies and aims to increase tourism’s contribution to the country’s gross domestic product, as outlined in Vision 2030, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
Calling Saudi Arabia one of the fastest growing markets for tourism, Al-Khateeb said the Kingdom’s tourism sector is accelerating at a rate of 14 percent compared to the pre-coronavirus pandemic period.
The tourism minister stressed that G20 countries need to collaboratively work together to build a more resilient and sustainable future for the sector.
According to Al-Khateeb, collective action is necessary to revive the tourism sector which has been negatively impacted due to the outbreak of the pandemic.
He also stressed the necessity of partnerships between the public and private sectors and multilateral cooperation in order to shape an efficient tourism sector for the future.
“Collaboration is key as we strive to secure a more resilient and sustainable future,” Al-Khateeb said.
He added: “Let us continue working together across sectors to drive our continued growth. Let us continue to support one another to take collective action to shape a more resilient sector and let us build sustainability into the core of every decision we make.”
Earlier in June, Al-Khateeb said that Saudi Arabia has allocated $100 million to provide training for 100,000 people to work in the tourism and sustainability sector.
He added that 90 hotels were launched in the Kingdom as a part of its tourism strategy, and more hotels will be opened soon, with 70 percent being funded by the private sector.
Al-Khateeb, in June, told AFP that the Kingdom is hoping to attract 12 million foreign visitors in 2022, up from the 4 million tourists who visited Saudi Arabia in 2021.
“Saudi Arabia will change the tourism landscape globally. The destinations that Saudi will offer by 2030, it’s something completely different,” he said.