Saudi tourism earnings to reach $1,200 million by 2007

19 November 2002

Saudi Arabia should see tourism revenue of $1,200 million by 2007, according to a report by the Supreme Commission for Tourism. Its five-year development plan has been approved by the commission's board, chaired by Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence & Aviation Prince Sultan.

The plan forecasts high levels of domestic and foreign investment in the sector, attracted by a return that the commission estimates at six riyals for every one invested. 446 sites have been identified for development in eight regions. The number of domestic flights will increase over the course of the plan to 600,000 from 300,000 while flights from Gulf states will rise to 75,000 from 50,000. Prince Sultan said that tourism was the kingdom's third highest earner behind oil and industry, and it is hoped that the sector's expansion will create more jobs for Saudi nationals. Earlier in the year he announced that the commission would boost visitor numbers to 21 million over the next two decades (MEED 17:5:02). In 2001 tourism contributed 5.4 per cent to national gross domestic product (GDP) and at present the industry is centred around the annual hajj pilgrimage.

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