Saudi Arabia tops Arab countries for most tourists in 2022
Saudi Arabia has topped the list of Arab countries for tourism arrivals so far in 2022, according to new figures released by the World Tourism Organization.
More than 18 million tourists have visited the Kingdom so far this year, statistics showed.
It makes Saudi Arabia the most visited country in the Arab world in 2022, with the United Arab Emirates (14.8 million tourists) and Morocco (11 million tourists) rounding out the top three.
Syria came fourth with 8.5 million tourists, with Tunisia (5.7 million tourists), Egypt (5.2 million), Bahrain (4.3 million), Jordan (3.5 million), Qatar (2.9 million), and Oman (2.3 million) rounding out the top ten.
This was followed by Algeria (2 million), Lebanon (1.6 million), Iraq (1.5 million), Yemen (1 million), Sudan (800,000) and Palestine (400,000)
Kuwait came at the bottom of the list with 203,000 tourists, according to the statistics.
Tourism is one of the most important pillars of Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Vision 2030, with the Kingdom aiming to raise the number of annual tourist visits to 100 million visitors by 2030.
In August, Saudi Arabia’s cabinet approved a new law to boost the competitiveness of the tourism sector.
Tourism Minister Ahmad al-Khateeb said at the time that the newly approved law comes in the line with the leadership’s orders to build a competitive tourism sector and contribute to the goals of Vision 2030.
As per the law, businesses will be given special licenses and support from the ministry, which will streamline licensing procedures by creating a one-stop-shop platform for all tourism stakeholders.
It aims to speed up achieving the goals of the National Tourism Strategy– plans that aim to boost the contribution of the tourism sector in the GDP to 10 percent and create 1 million new jobs in the tourism sector.
A high-profile feature of the tourism push is giga-projects spearheaded by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, including the $500 billion futuristic megacity NEOM and Diriyah, the seat of the first Saudi state which is being redeveloped as a heritage and entertainment destination.