Saudi Arabia wants to see its tourism revenues surpass US $56.2 billion by year 2018, according to a Saudi News Agency report.
According to the report, tourism has grown much faster than the entire Saudi economy in recent years thanks to a series of measures taken by the government to stimulate the sector.
Tourism revenues have risen from $15.2 billion in 2004 to more than $51.4 billion in 2017 (SR211 billion), the report says, adding that tourism has become one of the most important non-oil sectors of the kingdom. Tourism generated 993,901 direct and indirect jobs in 2017, according to the report. Thanks to the introduction of a new tourist visa in October 2018, it’s never been easier to visit Saudi Arabia.
The Kingdom wants to build a lucrative tourism industry in the same way its neighbours Dubai and Bahrain have. However many commentators point out that the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi has threatened the country’s bid to transform its oil-dependent economy into a tourism heaven.