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100m tourists in Saudi Arabia spend $27bn

Lionel Messi and family Saudi tourism Saudi Ministry of Tourism via Reuters
Lionel Messi and his family star in a new drive aiming to attract 150 million tourists to Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia hosted more than 100 million tourists last year, who collectively spent SAR100 billion ($26.67 billion), tourism minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb has revealed.

The total was made up of 77 million domestic and 27 million international tourists, the minister told the second edition of the Public Investment Fund (PIF) private sector forum.

Al-Khateeb said that the new strategy laid out by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is intended to attract 150 million tourists, some 80 million domestic and 70 million international visitors, by 2030.

He said that the kingdom had committed to funding training programmes and that more than 100,000 young Saudis were trained in the tourism industry last year. 

The state-owned Tourism Development Fund has funded more than 50 projects, worth SAR35 billion.

Last month, the Saudi Tourism Authority released a promotional video starring the footballer Lionel Messi. The campaign targets key markets such as Europe, India and China, focusing on overturning common misconceptions about the kingdom. 

In December 2023, Ahmed Al Khateeb said the government was focusing on developing Riyadh, which is to host the World Expo in 2030.

Riyadh-based projects include a new airport, a new airline, the Diriyah district, the Qiddiya sports and education district, the downtown Murabba area and King Salman Park. 

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