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Saudi Arabia Set for Fastest Growth in Rapidly Recovering Middle East Tourism Market

Saudi Arabia is tipped to be the fastest growing tourism market in the Middle East over the next 10 years.

The Kingdom’s tourism sector is expected to grow by around 11% per annum over the coming decade – more than six times the annual growth rate of the overall Saudi economy – according to the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) latest growth outlook.

Tourism is expected to contribute more than 17% of Saudi Arabia’s GDP by 2032, the WTTC said.

Over the next 10 years, tourism sector employment in the Kingdom could double, with more than 1.4 million jobs created and nearly 3 million people employed within the sector.

This year, alone, should see tourism’s contribution to the Saudi economy grow by over 15%. The country’s tourism sector is growing faster than the overall economy.

“Throughout these difficult times for our sector, the Saudi Arabia government has recognised the importance of Travel & Tourism and has led the world in its recovery,” said WTTC president and chief executive Julia Simpson.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President and CEO pictured with His Excellency Al Khateeb, Minister for Tourism.

Saudi Arabia’s tourism and travel industry accounted for almost 1.6 million jobs before the pandemic. Of those, roughly 350,000 were lost during the Covid crisis, when international travel ceased.

Geoff Percival
Geoff Percival
I have worked in journalism for more than 25 years. I am joining ITTN from The Irish Examiner, having worked there for the past 16 years as a senior business reporter. I have also contributed to, and written for, the likes of Business & Finance, Business Plus, The Sunday Times, The Irish News, Senior Times, and The Sunday Tribune, amongst others titles.


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