Saudi Arabia welcomed more than 14 million tourist trips this summer – up by six per cent – and posted total revenues of SAR19 billion, signalling an increase of ten per cent compared with last year’s figures.
The Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities said in a new report that tourist trips to outside the Kingdom reached 5.8m, up by 2.4 per cent, with a spend of SAR24.1bn, up by 11 per cent year-on-year.
Trips aimed at visiting friends and relatives accounted for 32.5 per cent of the total, while Umrah (lesser pilgrimage) trips accounted for 26.5 per cent and trips by leisure and entertainment seekers comprised 18.9 per cent.
A number of major festivals and events in various provinces of the Kingdom attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors, according to the report published by Al Riyadh newspaper.
Furthermore, Gulf countries were the main destination of Saudi visitors and tourists, accounting for 44.5 per cent of the total number of tourist trips this summer, followed by Middle Eastern countries (33.3 per cent) while South Asian and European countries came third and fourth on the list on top destinations for outbound trips.
The report expects tourist trips to hit 39.3m by the end of this year and 56.1m by 2020. Spend on tourism is forecast to reach SAR48.8bn by the end of 2015.
(SAR1 = AED0.97, at the time of publishing)