Kingdom records remarkable growth in domestic tourism
The Kingdom has recorded remarkable growth in the volume of expenditure for domestic tourism this year which has increased to SR42.2 billion as against SR35.4 billion last year, according to the Tourism Information and Research Center (MAS), the statistical arm of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH).
MAS has also recorded a notable upsurge in the number of domestic tourism trips which rose to 37.1 million for 2014 as against 23.8 million in 2013 and 19 million in 2012.
The significant upsurge in domestic tourism statistics has been recorded by MAS in its report “Travel and Tourism Sector Indicators — Saudi Arabia 2015,” details of which were released here on Thursday by the SCTNH media department.
According to MAS, spending on food and beverages tops the areas of tourism expenditure followed by spending on housing and residences, and spending on entertainment and culture while spending on transport placed fourth.
Notably, Makkah tops the list as the most visited province in the Kingdom with 14.7 million trips in 2014 as compared to 9.8 million trips in 2013. Madinah province is ranked second with 5.2 million trips in 2014 as against 2.9 million trips in 2013, recording a remarkable growth rate of 77 percent.
Eastern Province comes third with 4.4 million in 2014, and Riyadh province is next with 3.8 million trips in 2014 compared with 3.2 million trips in 2013.
According to the statistics, direct employment provided by the tourism sector until the end of last year reached 845,000 Saudis as against 750,000 in 2013.
It further indicated that the contribution of the tourism sector to the gross domestic product of the Kingdom for the last year was SR82 billion compared to SR75 billion in 2013.
The report indicated that the number of accommodation facilities hotels, furnished apartments, and resorts reached 5,868 with 446,6000 hotel rooms, while the rate of hotel occupancy reached 66.6 percent in 2014.
Moreover, MAS predicted a notable increase in the number of tourism trips by the end of 2015 reaching 39.3 million and 56.1 million trips by 2020, and that volume of expenditure by the end of this year to reach SR48.8 billion while in 2020 it would reach about SR100 billion.