Saudi was swift in its response to the pandemic and rolled out vaccines to ensure high immunization rates quickly which accelerated the easing of restrictions and the reopening of the country to tourists. The government also implemented several measures aimed at supporting companies and employees working in the tourism sector thereby mitigating the effects of the pandemic. Tourism is a key pillar of Saudi's transformative Vision 2030 and the country has ambitious goals to ensure that tourism contributes 10% of the country's GDP by 2030, with one million jobs created along the way.
According to the UNWTO Tourism Barometer, the global tourism sector saw international tourist arrivals almost triple from January to July 2022 (+172%) compared to the same period of 2021. This means the sector recovered to almost 60% of pre-pandemic levels.
His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb, Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia, and Chairman of the Board of Saudi Tourism Authority said: "Recognition of Saudi's achievements in the UNWTO Tourism Barometer is a key milestone in our extraordinary recovery and much of the success lies in our leadership's multipronged approach to managing the pandemic and accelerating the sector's pace of recovery. Saudi opened to the world in September 2019 and through continued leadership and commitment, we have made incomparable progress toward realizing our ambitious Vision 2030 tourism goals. We are invested in a sustainable future for tourism, and today I am proud of Saudi's position as the fastest growing tourism destination in the G20."
In 2020, Saudi Arabia's G20 leadership shaped strategies for recovery to foster a more sustainable and resilient sector, and today, Saudi Arabia has outperformed the G20 countries in pre-pandemic tourism recovery. A core pillar of Saudi's transformative Vision 2030, an ambitious roadmap for the future, building a resilient tourism ecosystem is fundamental to the Kingdom's economic diversification strategy, with people at its core. In line with the National Tourism Strategy, Saudi has ambitious goals to ensure that tourism contributes 10% of the country's GDP by 2030, with one million jobs created along the way.
About Saudi Tourism Authority
Saudi Tourism Authority (STA), launched in June 2020, is responsible for marketing Saudi's tourism destinations worldwide and developing the destination's offering through programs, packages and business support. Its mandate includes developing the country's unique assets and destinations, hosting and participating in industry events, and promoting Saudi's destination brand locally and overseas. STA operates 16 representative offices around the world, serving 38 countries.
About the UNWTO Barometer
The UNWTO Barometer monitors short-term tourism trends on a regular basis to provide global tourism stakeholders with up-to-date analysis on international tourism. The report is published four times a year and includes an analysis of the latest data on tourism destinations and source markets. The Barometer also includes a Confidence Index based on the UNWTO Panel of Tourism Experts survey, which provides an evaluation of recent performance and short-term prospects for international tourism.
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