Investment in Saudi Arabia’s tourism projects will reach $810 billion by 2030, as the kingdom seeks to become the driving force of tourism in the GCC region, according to the Middle East and North Africa Leisure & Attractions Council (MENALAC).
The kingdom’s Public Investment Fund is investing heavily in the tourism sector and will be growing its investment in recreation projects from 2.9 percent in 2020 to six percent in 2030, with tourism revenues expected to exceed $37 billion by the end of 2020.
“Mega tourism projects being developed by Public Investment Fund will be spread over an area of more than 64,634 sqkm, with a value exceeding $810 billion,” Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), the country’s tourism regulator, said.
SCTH said $1.3 billion will be spent on developing museums across the country and preserving Saudi heritage.
“Saudi Arabia foresees that the national tourism will significantly contribute to the gross domestic product as the most growing non-oil economic sector. Tourism revenues increased to more than $51 billion in 2017, and to more than $56 billion in 2018,” SCTH said in a report.
According to MENALAC, the total number of inbound and outbound tourist trips in Saudi Arabia is expected to reach 62 million, and tourism revenues are anticipated to exceed $37 billion by the end of 2020.
According to the trade council’s data, Saudi Arabian tourism attracted US$28.6 billion in investment, six times the world average in tourism capital investment, in 2017.
One of the kingdom’s most high-profile megaprojects, the sustainable megacity and tourist attraction Neom, accounts for $500 billion in investment. The 334 sqkm Qiddiyah Project will account for $10 billion.
The third project is Amaala or the Saudi Riviera, located in the northern region with an area of 3,800 sqkm, and also includes the development of islands in the Red Sea with a total area of 34 sq.km.
Mishal Al Hokair, Board Member of MENALAC, said: “Once the current COVID-19 situation improves, the investment and development in Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector will bring massive opportunities for the industry. It is time for everyone to prepare for the next big growth.”
Tourism and entertainment are part of the kingdom’s Vision 2030, aimed at diversifying the Saudi economy by reducing its dependence on oil.
As the kingdom looks towards recovery from COVID-19, a number of construction contracts have recently been awarded following the partial re-opening of the economy after the lockdown.
Rosa Tahmaseb, Secretary General of MENALAC said: “The leisure attractions industry in the MENA region is upbeat with the new opportunities that are arising in Saudi Arabia. We see massive opportunities for our industry being created by more than a $1 trillion investment in the Saudi economy between now and 2030.”
(Reporting by Imogen Lillywhite; editing by Seban Scaria)
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