Saudi Arabia will have the most growth in travel and tourism in the Middle East.

high rise buildings at al faisaliyah center riyadh saudi arabia
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The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) says that the travel and tourism industry in Saudi Arabia will grow by an average of 11% per year over the next ten years. This will make it the fastest-growing travel and tourism industry in the Middle East.

The latest Economic Impact Report (EIR) from WTTC predicts that this annual growth, which is more than six times the 1.8 percent growth rate of the country’s overall economy, will help the Kingdom’s economy get back on its feet.

By 2032, the Travel and Tourism sector could add nearly SAR 635 billion to GDP, which would be 17.1% of the whole economy.

The forecast also says that the number of people working in Travel & Tourism could double over the next 10 years, adding more than 1.4 million jobs to reach almost 3 million by 2032.

The goals set by the government’s Vision 2030 strategic framework for job growth and the sector’s contribution to the economy of the Kingdom are expected to be surpassed.

By 2023, after two years of trouble, Saudi Arabia’s Travel & Tourism sector could be a bigger part of the country’s economy than it was before the pandemic. This is because it is expected to grow by 2% over 2019 levels and reach nearly SAR 297 billion.

Employment in the sector could also go up by 14.1%, which would add more than 223,000 jobs, bringing the total number of jobs to almost 1.8 million by the end of 2019.

By the end of this year, the sector is expected to add 15.2% more to GDP, bringing it up to nearly SAR 223 billion, which is 7.2% of the total GDP. The number of jobs in the sector is also expected to grow by 16.1%, reaching more than 1.5 million.

The global tourism body says that the Kingdom, which will host the WTTC’s 22nd Global Summit in Riyadh from November 28 to December 1, is recovering faster than average. This is because the government put its full focus on the travel and tourism industry and made sure it stayed at the top of the global agenda.

Julia Simpson, President and CEO of the WTTC, said, “During these hard times for our industry, the Saudi Arabian government has seen how important Travel & Tourism is and has led the world in its recovery.” Travel and tourism will become a major part of the Saudi Arabian economy and go beyond the goals set out in the country’s Vision 2030 plan because of his leadership.

“I’d like to thank Ahmed Al Khateeb for his strong leadership during this crisis, which has helped the sector grow with investments that had never been made before and new ways of looking at tourism.

“I’m glad the Kingdom is hosting our 22nd Global Summit, where we can continue to show how important the travel and tourism industry is and look to the future of travel.”

Before the pandemic, travel and tourism made up 9.7 percent (SAR 291.6 billion) of Saudi Arabia’s GDP in 2019. After the pandemic, that number dropped to 6.6 percent (SAR 190.6 billion), which is a shocking 34.6 percent loss.

Nearly 1.6 million jobs were also supported by the sector before almost all international travel stopped, causing a loss of 350,000 jobs (22,2%). In 2020, just over 1.2 million jobs will be supported by the sector.


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