RIYADH: The Saudi tourism ministry is looking to attract new investments worth SR220 billion ($58.5 billion) by 2023 and more than SR500 billion ($133 billion) by 2030, said a report.
Addressing a session on “Future sectors” at the Saudi Budget Forum 2021, Saudi Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb said that Saudi Arabia had opened its doors to tourists last year as part of its tourism strategy, drawing more than 500,000 visitors from over 25 countries before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Saudi Gazette reported.
“The tourism sector in the kingdom constitutes 3.5 per cent of the total gross domestic product (GDP), and we aim to raise it to 10 per cent,” he said.
“We have pumped huge investments into giant tourist projects, such as NEOM, Qiddiya, the Red Sea, and Diriyah Gate. We have made coordination with banks and the Tourism Development Fund to finance parts of these projects, in addition to attracting private sector investments,” he said.
Al-Khateeb also pointed out that hotel occupancy in the kingdom has increased to more than 80 per cent with the return of the domestic tourism industry to normalcy, the report said.