Between 2009 and 2018 travel and tourism alone boosted Saudi’s GDP by 4.64%, amounting to approximately US$ 2.89 billion, according to a report titled ‘Decoding the Saudi Arabian Travel and Tourism Industry’ presented by SkiftX and Seera.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) notes the value of Saudi’s GDP from travel and tourism to be $65.21 billion in 2018. Domestic tourism spending (the amount residents spend on business and leisure in the country) has grown by 1.56% between the timeframe, adding an extra $262 million to its $17 billion figure.
Leisure tourism spending (spending of both residents and internationals on leisure trips) has grown by 12.55%, equating to a $2.9 billion boost to the $26.4 billion figure in 2018.
Business tourism spending (spending on business travel by residents and international visitors) grew by 35.8% (which amounts to approximately $1.2 billion) between 2009 and 2018 and was at $4.5 billion in 2018.
Finally the report states that visitor or foreign spending in the kingdom grew by 38.4%, amounting to around $3.8 billion and feeding into the 2018 value of $14.04 billion.
No other country except the UAE is has the same level of spending within the region. Foreign spending was at $0.75 billion in Kuwait and $3.1 billion in Oman. WTTC reports that domestic tourism spending in 2018 was at $5.39 billion in Kuwait and $2.38 billion in Oman.
Saudi Arabia this year relaxed its visa regulations and visitor policies, now allowing more people into the country via a e-visa or visa-on-arrival system.