RIYADH — Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb said that Saudi Arabia targets the inflow of 25 million foreign tourists during the year 2023 and that it is seeking to provide one million jobs in the vital tourism sector.

The minister said this while addressing the monthly virtual meeting with citizens from all over the Kingdom. Several senior officials of the ministry also attended the meeting.

During the meeting, the minister reviewed the most remarkable achievements made by the tourism sector in the Kingdom during the year 2022. “The total tourism expenditure amounted to SR185 billion in 2022 and this figure marks an increase of 93 percent over the previous year. The Kingdom exceeded the figures during the year 2019 so as to become the highest country in posting a record number of tourists from among the G20 countries,” he said.

Al-Khateeb said Saudi Arabia is expected to rank 17th globally in attracting tourists, which reached 16.5 million tourist arrivals, an increase of 94 percent during the pre-pandemic period. “The direct contribution of the tourism sector to the GDP amounted to 3.2 percent of the total target of 10 percent by 2030. Last year recorded an increase in the number of tourism jobs, which accounted for 880,000, an increase of 15 percent over the previous year. The percentage of Saudi women in the tourism sector also increased, reaching 44 percent of the total workers in the sector.”

Al-Khateeb also noted that the ministry is seeking to provide one million jobs in the tourism sector with its various activities, which requires the establishment of training institutes and the development of training programs and services in the field of hospitality and tourism. The training file is one of the most important files that the ministry pays attention to, he said.

The minister called on the investors in the tourism sector to adhere to the new regulations in order to achieve a competitive environment that is fair and attractive to the flow of investment.

He explained that the ministry launched a joint borrowing program with the banking sector to finance medium, small, and micro enterprises to enhance investments in the tourism sector and contribute to providing jobs in more than 18,000 establishments by launching three programs within the strategy to support micro and small enterprises in the tourism industry.

It is noteworthy that the Ministry of Tourism implemented 11 advertising campaigns to introduce tourism in the Kingdom, reaching 35 countries, through which it was keen to focus on the cities across the Kingdom and the geographical nature that embraces the wonderful beaches and bays, green plains, and archaeological sites.

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