Saudi Vision 2030 aims to boost the kingdom’s hospitality industry by more than half and attract 1.5 million tourists by 2020, analysts believe.
The vision unveiled on Monday aims to establish an Islamic museum and increase the revenue generated from tourism to 18 percent in the next 14 years, according to reports.
Currently the number of tourists visiting the kingdom stands at around 200,000.
Referring to the diversification reforms unveiled by deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, Riyadh Marriott Hotel general manager Muin Serhan, said reforms to visa issuance and development of historic heritage sites would be integral to boosting these numbers.
The manager added that he believes the kingdom will be able to attract 30 million people coming for the Haj and Umrah by 2030 following the completion of a new airport at Jeddah’s new airport, the Haramain Train, the Mecca Metro, plus the expansion of Taif’s airport, which is located 70km from Mecca.
Ibrahim Al Rashid, chairman of the tourism committee at Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told the Saudi Gazette that investment of every $1 million in the tourism sector would create 167 direct and indirect jobs.
He said: “Tourism is one of the focal points of the government’s strategy to strengthen the economy and reduce dependence on oil revenue.”
According to a report by TOPHOTELPROJECTS, the kingdom’s hospitality sector has seen a rise in the mid-market offerings.
The report revealed that six out of the top ten brands with the most development currently underway throughout the kingdom are classed as mid-market.
The Rezidor Group currently has 17 hotels and 3,780 rooms planned over the next five years.Adding to the mid-market pipeline, Accor’s 4-star Novotel (450 rooms) and Adagio Aparthotel (77 rooms) and 3-star Ibis & ibis Styles (463 rooms) will open in Saudi Arabia in 2016 and 2017,