Towards the end of September, Saudi Arabia threw open its doors to visitors from across the globe, launching its tourism visa made available for nationals of 49 countries. This landmark move, as well as others over the last two years that have aimed at boosting its tourism, entertainment, arts, and cultural offerings, are part of the Kingdom’s larger efforts to become a top tourist destination by the year 2030.
In fact, according to its National Tourism Strategy, Saudi Arabia is aiming to be among the top five tourist destinations in the world. As reported by Saudi Gazette, the Kingdom is hoping that the revenues generated by tourism will contribute 10 percent of Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product by 2030, compared to the present three percent.
Many of Saudi Arabia’s recent tourism-centric development projects have been banking on the Kingdom’s rich landscape, from its stunning desert terrain to the magnificent, juniper-filled mountains of Asir, to the pristine shorelines along the Red Sea holding some of the world’s most diverse marine life, to its world heritage sites such as the ancient Nabataean ruins of Mada'in Saleh.
In addition, the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) has devised a strategy aimed at creating more than a million new jobs – both indirect and direct employment – in the tourism sector, according to a recent article by Saudi Gazette. The news site also explained that the SCTNH is particularly focusing on nationalizing a large number of tourist jobs, including travel and tourism offices, tour organizers, offices of booking tourist units, and others.