Saudi’s most recent plans call for the construction of a massive tourism 380-acre project in Riyadh, that is projected to attract approximately 25 million visitors annually beginning in 2030, according to a new report on tourism in Saudi published in New York Post.
The article reveals that Saudi is planning to develop a trillion-dollar global tourism economy and transition from an oil-based economy to a multi-sector economy.
Scheduled to be completed in 2026, the project includes dozens of hotels, tens of thousands of new apartments, a university, a metro, in addition to an opera house, four-star restaurants, and a vast shopping area.
The first phase opens this fall around the restored ruins of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, At-Turaif, the report says.
Baccarat, Orient Express, Raffles, Park Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton, Rosewood, Four Seasons, and Six Senses are just a few of the upscale Western staples opening in the new district.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also hopes to attract 100 million tourists by 2030 (Saudi only attracted 17.5 million international visitors in 2019, according to the World Tourism Organization), making the Kingdom one of the most visited countries on the planet.
The Saudi Ministry of Tourism expects 12 million foreign tourists in 2022, with tourism accounting for about 4 percent of the Kingdom’s GDP and 10 percent by 2030.
In September 2019, Saudi announced that visitors from 49 countries could enter for just $117 at the airport.
Saudi has launched an ambitious program to revitalize the tourism sector as part of its strategy, which is expected to make the Kingdom one of the main destinations for tourists wishing to visit the Middle East or learn about Arab culture.
Khalil Lamrabet, CEO of Saudi Air Connectivity Program, said in a press statement on June 10: “The government plans to invest $147 billion to help transform the Kingdom into a transportation hub.”
The Saudi Tourism Development Fund also announced in November that it had used two billion riyals ($533 million) to fund tourism projects in 2021.