RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Tourism is working on plans to raise pilgrim capacity in Makkah and Madinah to meet the growing demand for accommodation during the Ramadan holy month.
The Kingdom’s Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khatib, on his Twitter page, said that the ministry is planning to operate an additional 9,000 hotel rooms in Madinah before Ramadan.
“I met with businessmen and operators of the hospitality sector in Madinah, and we were briefed on the readiness of the city’s hotels to receive visitors and Umrah performers in the Ramadan season,” said Al-Khatib.
In 2022, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah offered services to seven million Umrah visitors including four million worshipers with Umrah visas.
In the same year the Kingdom for the first time allowed people who had a tourist visa to the Kingdom to perform Umrah during their stay in the country.
Al-Khateeb further noted that the ministry is working to elevate the quality of the hospitality sector in the Kingdom, by empowering the private sector with legislation and financing solutions.
Meanwhile, the Royal Commission for AlUla, also known as the RCU, has announced the launch of a portal for obtaining tourism and recreational permits and licenses, as the historical site steadily emerges as a global tourism destination.
The new portal is being launched to provide services for AlUla and develop the governorate’s operations and automate the procedures.
RCU has also urged everyone to visit the e-services portal to submit the necessary details for obtaining tourism and recreational permits.
As Saudi Arabia pursues its journey to become a global tourism hub, in line with the goals outlined in Vision 2030, the Kingdom, earlier this month, launched a new digital tourism strategy in a bid to attract more visitors to the Kingdom.
The outline of the plan was announced by Al-Khateeb during the global and technology-leading LEAP 2023 forum.
The new digital tourism strategy also has the support of the World Tourism Organization, the World Bank and digital partners such as Microsoft and Cisco.
“We want travelers and visitors to be sure that the tourism sector in the Kingdom operates within smart regulations,” said Al-Khatib.
The digital plan includes nine programs and will be completed by 2025.
Saudi Arabia’s national tourism strategy aims to create one million jobs in the tourism sector, along with attracting 100 million visitors annually by 2030.