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Saudi Red Sea resorts aim for 19m tourists by 2030

Nujuma, operated by Ritz Carlton, is the third Red Sea Global resort to open to visitors Red Sea Global
Nujuma, operated by Ritz Carlton, is the third Red Sea Global resort to open to visitors
  • Licences planned for 60 marinas
  • 27m tourists for all of Saudi in 2023
  • China is a key untapped resource

Saudi Arabia hopes to attract 19 million tourists a year to its Red Sea giga-projects and other resorts being built along the country’s west coast. 

Mohammed Al Nasser, CEO of the Saudi Red Sea Authority, said it intends to issue licences for up to 60 marinas over the next two years. It recently licensed six agents to manage cruise and yacht tours, including international liners

Al Nasser told CNBC Arabia that the Red Sea coastal region would add SAR85 billion ($22.3 billion) a year to the kingdom’s economy by 2030

The government wants tourism to contribute 10 percent of GDP by 2030, which equals $185 billion by 2023 standards.  

Saudi Arabia had 27 million international visitors in 2023. Religious tourism accounts for nearly 50 percent of international visitors and is central to government tourism expansion plans.

The major Red Sea projects are owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) and include Neom, the Red Sea Global resorts and Jeddah Central. The Saudi Red Sea Authority is also owned by PIF. 

The other major tourist projects are located in Riyadh, the southern Aseer region and AlUla in the northern desert.  

This year Saudi Arabia obtained official Approved Destination Status from China, which will increase group tours to the kingdom. 

The Saudi government sees China as a key untapped resource for its tourism plans. It wants China to become its third largest source for international arrivals by 2030, with a target of 5 million tourists per year.

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