Saudi Arabia’s travel & tourism contributes SAR 444.3bn to its GDP

Last year, the travel and tourism sector in Saudi Arabia grew over 32% to contribute a record-breaking SAR 444.3BN to Saudi’s GDP, representing 11.5% of the entire economy. This exceeded the previous record by almost 30% and underscores the sector’s pivotal new role in the nation’s economic framework. The World Travel & Tourism Council’s 2024 Economic Impact Research (EIR) has revealed a record-breaking year for travel & tourism in Saudi Arabia, with new records in GDP contribution, sector jobs and visitor spend. Saudi Arabia’s travel & tourism sector is now soaring past all previous records, testament to the country’s commitment to becoming a global tourism hot spot. Jobs supported by the sector grew by 436,000 to reach more than 2.5MN, representing almost one in five jobs in the country. Although the jobs lost during the pandemic were fully recovered in 2022, today’s announcement shows sector employment in Travel & Tourism has increased almost 24% since the previous peak. International visitor spending surged by almost 57% to reach SAR 227.4BN, breaking the previous record by SAR 93.6BN, while domestic visitor spending grew by 21.5% to reach SAR 142.5BN. Seven years ahead of its target, Saudi Arabia welcomed 100MN tourists in 2023. Today, the country is surging toward even greater heights and has set a more ambitious aim of attracting 150MN tourists by 2030.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO said; “Saudi Arabia’s Travel & Tourism sector’s extraordinary achievements last year mark a pivotal moment in its journey towards becoming a global tourism leader. “This success is a direct result of the Kingdom’s visionary commitment to the sector, showcasing an impressive fusion of cultural heritage and innovative tourism initiatives. As the sector continues to expand, it promises to play a crucial role in the nation’s diversified economic future, while contributing significantly to global Travel & Tourism development.”

Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia and Chairman of the Executive Council of UN Tourism, His Excellency Ahmed Al-Khateeb said “The latest data from WTTC provides further evidence of the rapid success we have achieved in transforming Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry.

“Tourism is a key pillar of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 economic diversification plans and we have made great strides promoting investment in the sector – with more than $800 billion earmarked by 2030 – as well as creating new jobs and growing the contribution of tourism to GDP.”