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Saudi Arabia Tourism Sets New Visitor Spend Record

Al Qurayyah Sea in Saudi Arabia - image courtesy of David Mark from Pixabay
Al Qurayyah Sea in Saudi Arabia - image courtesy of David Mark from Pixabay
Written by Linda Hohnholz

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has set a new record in spending by foreign visitors in 2023, as per preliminary data from the Saudi Central Bank regarding the travel item in the balance of payments.

Spending reached SAR135 billion (nearly US$36 billion), marking the highest expenditure by foreign visitors in the Kingdom’s history, representing a growth rate of 42.8% compared to 2022.

This historic surge in spending is part of a series of ongoing successes in the Kingdom’s tourism sector. In 2023, the Kingdom led the United Nations Tourism List for the growth rate of international tourists compared to 2019, achieving a remarkable 56% increase in tourist arrivals. Additionally, the United Nations Tourism Barometer report in January 2024 indicated a 156% recovery in the Kingdom’s tourist arrivals in 2023 compared to 2019.

Moreover, the Kingdom garnered international acclaim from the World Tourism Organization (UN Tourism) and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) for hosting over 100 million domestic and international tourists in 2023. Both organizations commended the tremendous efforts of the Kingdom’s tourism sector.

Saudi Arabia’s rich heritage and traditions have been shaped by its position as a historic trade hub and the birthplace of Islam. In recent years, the Kingdom has undergone a significant cultural transformation, evolving century-old customs to fit the contemporary world of today.

Getting around is easy, as while Arabic is the official language of Saudi Arabia and the primary language used in all dealings and public transactions, English serves as an informal second language in the Kingdom and is spoken by a large section of its society. All road signs are bilingual, showing information in both Arabic and English.

The travel industry is welcoming tourists with exciting offers and deals, special rates, and new suggestions of how to experience and enjoy Saudi Arabia. Take advantage of bargains to visit a new corner of the kingdom, or to tick an experience off the travel bucket list.