63.4 billion riyals tourism spending in Saudi Arabia during the pandemic year .. 31.7% for those coming from abroad


The volume of tourism spending in Saudi Arabia last year 2020, amounted to about 63.4 billion riyals ($ 16.91 billion), which is 61.5 percent less than the previous year, which amounted to 164.6 billion riyals, due to the impact of the global pandemic.
According to the monitoring unit of the reports in the newspaper “Al-Iqtisadiah”, and based on the data of the Saudi Central Bank as well as the Ministry of Tourism, incoming tourism spending “coming from abroad” was about 31.7 percent, or the equivalent of 20.1 billion riyals, while domestic tourism spending amounted to about 68.3 percent, or the equivalent of 43.3 billion riyals.
Saudi Arabia is witnessing a major shift towards revitalizing the tourism sector to contribute to the diversification of the economy within the framework of the National Transformation Program, as it is an important tributary of the national economy, as this was reflected in the level of domestic and foreign spending, recording record spending before the pandemic, specifically in 2019.
Saudi Arabia aims to develop the sector as part of the Saudi Vision 2030, by providing various tourism options, especially after the encouraging results of opening tourist visas during September 2019, which exceeded 500,000 visas before the global Corona crisis.
While the tourism sector around the world witnessed during the past year one of the largest shocks historically, which constitutes 10 percent of the volume of the global economy, due to the closure of borders and the imposition of restrictions on travelers due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Last year, the global tourism sector lost about $1.3 trillion, according to the data of the World Tourism Organization, with that loss equivalent to about 11 times recorded during the global economic crisis in 2009, while the flow of tourists around the world decreased by 74 percent compared to 2019.
Saudi Arabia had temporarily suspended the issuance of tourist visas in March 2020, after the repercussions of the pandemic, but it is seeking to resume visas soon amid a protocol that facilitates travel operations.
Incoming tourism spending in Saudi Arabia declined by about 81 percent last year, to reach about 20.1 billion riyals, compared to about 103.4 billion riyals, but local tourism declined at a slower pace during the period by about 29 percent only, as the tourism authorities in Saudi Arabia worked to launch many programs tourism once the domestic tourism activity resumed in the middle of last year.
Thus, domestic spending on tourism scored about 43.3 billion riyals, compared to about 61.2 billion riyals for the year 2019, while the trips amounted to about 42.1 million trips, compared to about 47.8 million trips for the previous year.
The main destinations for domestic tourism trips were Riyadh with 16.2 percent of domestic tourism trips, followed by Makkah and Madinah with 23.5 and 13.3 percent, respectively, while the Asir region came as the fourth destination, accounting for 10.9 percent of trips.
Saudi Arabia is working to implement many giant tourism projects in accordance with the Saudi Vision 2030, to make the tourism sector an important tributary to the national economy.
Among the most prominent of these projects is the Qiddiya project, west of the capital, Riyadh, which is an inspiring entertainment project for young people, as well as a number of huge projects on the coasts of Saudi Arabia, namely Neom, the Red Sea and Amaala, and the development of many historical sites, such as Al-Ula, Madain Saleh, and Diriyah, which represents a national symbol in Saudi history .
Tourism spending in Saudi Arabia during the past five years 2016-2020 recorded about 662.3 billion riyals, the share of incoming tourism was about 61.6 percent, while the share of domestic tourism amounted to 38.4 percent during the period.
In addition, the national strategy for tourism in Saudi Arabia during the next year 2022 targets about 62 million visits, including 29.5 million visits from abroad, and about 32.5 million visits from within, in addition to targeting 5.3 percent of the domestic product.
Economic Reporting Unit


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