Jeddah — Tourism Minister and member of NEOM’s board of directors Ahmed Al-Khateeb has said Saudi Arabia aims to triple the number of its foreign tourists visitors in 2022. They plan to do this by easing restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic and the return of foreign pilgrims.
The increase in domestic travel helped in 2020 and 2021. The authorities documented a record number of 64 million visits.
Speaking to AFP news agency, Al-Khateeb said the Kingdom wants to get an additional share of the international market as explained.
“Now we are pushing to attract more foreign visitors,” he said. This year’s goal is to record 12 million visits, compared to four million visits in 2021.
The mega projects launched by the Crown Prince are part of the Kingdom’s plans to attract foreign tourists. At the top of these projects is the future city of NEOM. This project has an investment estimated at SR500 billion and the development of Diriya.
According to Al-Khateeb, the restaurant area in Diriya is scheduled to open next September. At the same time, other regions will operate from 2025 onward.
“This is a new level of tourism that does not exist now, and Saudi Arabia will change the tourism landscape globally. The destinations that Saudi Arabia will offer by 2030 will be completely different,” he added.
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Saudi Arabia moved from 43rd position in 2019 to 33rd in 2021 in Global Tourism Rankings; as a result of improvements across nearly all indicators. This was the first report to be released since Saudi Arabia reopened its historical places and other attractions for international tourism.