Saudi Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khatib announced today, Friday, that the kingdom’s tourism sector may witness a decrease between 35 and 45 percent this year due to the government’s measures to combat the Corona virus pandemic.
“We believe this year that the decline will be in the range of 35 percent to 45 percent compared to last year,” the Saudi minister told Reuters.
He added: “The sector has been severely affected … Hotels around the world are suffering from very low occupancy rates … This is the case here in Saudi Arabia as well. We hope that things will improve in the coming weeks and we are witnessing a rapid recovery.”
He said, “Reopening the economy is a top priority on the agenda of the Saudi government, but that will only happen when the pandemic is under control.”
In late February, Saudi Arabia closed its borders to pilgrims and tourists from about 25 countries, and in March, it banned all travel to and from the country.
Usually 2.5 million pilgrims visit the kingdom during the pilgrimage season, which is expected to happen this year in July, but Saudi Arabia urged Muslims to be patient about the pilgrimage plans so that there is more clarity about the pandemic of the Corona virus.
Al-Khatib said that the Kingdom’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah is in contact with all Islamic countries and will take a decision in the near future.
It is noteworthy that Saudi Arabia recorded 15 thousand and 102 infections, and 127 deaths so far due to the Corona virus.