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Saudi Arabia welcomed 156% more tourists in 2023 than in 2029: UNWTO

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has welcomed 156 percent more tourists in 2023 compared to 2019, an achievement attributed to the global recovery in the field of tourism, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) barometer report.

The Middle East is the only region to have achieved tourism growth at pre-pandemic levels receiving 122 percent more tourists in 2023 than in 2019.

According to the report, the global rate of tourism recovery in 2023 stood at 88 percent of pre-pandemic levels, registering an estimated 1,3 billion arrivals. International tourism revenues reached $1.3 trillion, approaching 93 percent of the $1.5 trillion achieved in 2019.

WTO estimates the direct tourism contribution to the GDP in 2023 to have stood at 3 percent, having reached $3.3 trillion. It expects global tourism to fully recover from the pandemic during 2024, and to grow by 2 percent compared to 2019.

Reports issued by WTO also shows a significant contribution of the tourism sector in the Kingdom to the economy, it topped the G20 countries’ number of arriving tourists in 2023, and ranked second among the fastest-growing tourist destinations in the world in the first three quarters of last year.

Various tourist destinations in the Kingdom witnessed a significant increase in the number of visitors, both domestic and foreign in 2023, and registered a new record in spending by visitors coming from abroad, according to data issued by the Central Bank of Saudi Arabia (SAMA), which shows that tourism revenues reached more than $26.6 billion for the first three quarters of 2023.

This is way above the initial estimation of $10 billion in the first three quarters of 2023, and a 72 percent increase over the comparison period of 2022.

These achievements are proof of the Kingdom’s distinguished position as a global tourist destination, and reflect travelers’ confidence in the country’s tourism options and diversity.