Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb described the performance of the Saudi tourism sector during the first quarter of 2023 as unprecedented and historical in terms of the number of visitors and amount of tourism spending.
“Over six million pilgrims have performed Umrah during the current season while the percentage of incoming tourists for the purpose of entertainment and holidays shot up 581 percent in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the same period in 2019, thanks to the simplified electronic visa procedures and remarkable growth in facilities and services in the Kingdom’s tourist destinations,” he said.
The minister made the remarks while attending his monthly meeting with investors in the Saudi tourism sector. Saudi Tourism Authority Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Fahd Hamidaddin and a large number of stakeholders and investors in the tourism sector from various regions of the Kingdom attended the virtual meeting.
Al-Khateeb stressed that the ministry would never neglect three issues that are at the core of its work, which were high quality, compliance with the necessary licenses to practice the activity, and Saudize jobs in the tourism sector.
The minister emphasized that the results achieved by the Kingdom’s tourism sector during the holy month of Ramazan were amazing and unprecedented. The number of Umrah pilgrims from inside and outside Saudi Arabia has exceeded six million, and the occupancy rate in the hospitality sector in Makkah and Madinah recorded historical figures, Saudi Gazette reported.
“This strong start is promising and encouraging as the ministry is intensifying its efforts and readiness to launch the summer season campaign for this year. All sectors have completed their preparations for a strong and attractive tourism season. More than SR600 million have been allocated to introduce the wonderful tourist destinations all over the Kingdom,” he said.
The meeting reviewed the preliminary results achieved during the first quarter. It was revealed in the meeting that the growth rate of total domestic tourism spending in the first quarter of this year reached 45 percent compared to the first quarter of 2022.
“This was supported by the strong start of inbound tourism and the achievement of the highest quarterly number of foreign tourists for all purposes, which is estimated at 7.8 million, with a growth rate of 64 percent compared to the first quarter of 2019. The remarkable progress in the procedures.
“In addition to tourism promotion in the target countries, as well as the increase in demand for the Umrah visas have contributed to achieving these results,” the minister said.
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