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Saudi Arabia plans further US$800bn investment in tourism projects

Saudi Arabia is set to invest a further US$800bn on top of the US$1tn investment it has already made in tourism, with even more new projects set to come up in the kingdom over the course of the next decade




Six Flags Qiddiya is just one of a range of tourism projects currently under development in Saudi Arabia   Credit: Six Flags

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia has revealed plans to invest a further US$800bn (€737.3bn, £630.4bn) in tourism projects over the next decade.

The news was revealed by Saudi tourism minister, Ahamed Al-Khateeb, who was speaking at the tenth edition of the Arab-China Businessmen Conference.

The country is attempting to reduce its reliance on oil by reinvesting in tourism, with developments worth more than US$1tn (€921.7bn, £787.7bn) already underway. Tourism in Saudi Arabia last year counted for 4.5% of the country’s annual GDP - an increase of 1.5% from 2019. By the end of the decade, Saudi wants to bring tourism contributions to its GDP up to 10%.

Among its current investments, US$110bn (€101.4bn, £86.7bn) is going solely on hotels, with more than 315,000 hotel rooms either planned or currently being built, most of which are luxury properties. Over the next five years alone, the number of hotel rooms in the kingdom is expected to double from its current number to around 200,000.

These grand investments seem to be paying off. Under its 2030 Vision plan, Saudi Arabia set a target to hit 100 million visitors annually by 2030. In 2022 the country welcomed 77 million domestic travellers and 16.5 million international travellers – 93.5 million in total. As a result, the country’s tourism authority is planning to extend that figure beyond its original target.

In order to achieve its goals, Saudi Arabia is working with its neighbouring countries, recently reaching an agreement with Oman to introduce an integrated tourist visa, while it has also reached an agreement with Bahrain to position both countries as a singular regional and global tourism destination.

Among its existing developments, Saudi Arabia’s Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has revealed plans to develop an eco-luxury resort in the ancient city that will offer its own museum.

Work started last year on the upcoming Royal Arts Complex in Riyadh - a project spanning more than 500,000sq m (5.4 millionsq ft) and featuring immersive experiences designed to cater to culture and art in all of its forms.

Famous contemporary French art museum Centre Pompidou is also making its way to Saudi Arabia, with an agreement signed for an overseas outpost in the kingdom as part of a US$5.2bn (€4.74bn, £4.18bn) investment made by the RCU.

Leaning into numerous IPs, a number of Transformers attractions are currently under development. Play-Doh and Warner Bros Discovery experiences are also in the mix.

US-based restaurant and entertainment company Dave & Buster’s is set to debut in the Middle East, with new franchise locations expected to open in Saudi Arabia over the next five years.

Another brand set to arrive is Ocean Park, which in April announced plans to develop its first attraction in the country. According to an MoU, Ocean Park will also develop a variety of location-based entertainment venues among Saudi cities, including FECs, waterparks, IP-based theme parks and animal attractions.

In downtown Riyadh, plans include a US$48bn (€45.5bn, £40bn) commercial development anchored by a cube-shaped skyscraper large enough to accommodate 20 Empire State buildings. Described as the world’s ‘first immersive experiential destination’, The Mukaab will use digital and virtual technologies and holographics to submerge visitors in different environments.

Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority (GEA) has also issued licences for more than 400 entertainment venues, including 24 theme parks.

Among them is the Qiddiya development, which will feature a number of attractions, among them a US$750m, (€672.8m, £562.2m) waterpark featuring nine world firsts alongside the highly-anticipated Six Flags Qiddiya.

According to Fahd Hamidaddin, chief executive of the Saudi Tourism Authority, “tourism is the new oil” for Saudi.

“What we’re doing, we are doing for our people, for our economy, and the world is going to reward us,” he said.

“In the 1920s the world came to Saudi for oil, but in the 2020s, we’re expecting the people of the world to come for tourism.”


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Saudi Arabia plans further US$800bn investment in tourism projects | Planet Attractions
news

Saudi Arabia plans further US$800bn investment in tourism projects

Saudi Arabia is set to invest a further US$800bn on top of the US$1tn investment it has already made in tourism, with even more new projects set to come up in the kingdom over the course of the next decade




Six Flags Qiddiya is just one of a range of tourism projects currently under development in Saudi Arabia   Credit: Six Flags

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia has revealed plans to invest a further US$800bn (€737.3bn, £630.4bn) in tourism projects over the next decade.

The news was revealed by Saudi tourism minister, Ahamed Al-Khateeb, who was speaking at the tenth edition of the Arab-China Businessmen Conference.

The country is attempting to reduce its reliance on oil by reinvesting in tourism, with developments worth more than US$1tn (€921.7bn, £787.7bn) already underway. Tourism in Saudi Arabia last year counted for 4.5% of the country’s annual GDP - an increase of 1.5% from 2019. By the end of the decade, Saudi wants to bring tourism contributions to its GDP up to 10%.

Among its current investments, US$110bn (€101.4bn, £86.7bn) is going solely on hotels, with more than 315,000 hotel rooms either planned or currently being built, most of which are luxury properties. Over the next five years alone, the number of hotel rooms in the kingdom is expected to double from its current number to around 200,000.

These grand investments seem to be paying off. Under its 2030 Vision plan, Saudi Arabia set a target to hit 100 million visitors annually by 2030. In 2022 the country welcomed 77 million domestic travellers and 16.5 million international travellers – 93.5 million in total. As a result, the country’s tourism authority is planning to extend that figure beyond its original target.

In order to achieve its goals, Saudi Arabia is working with its neighbouring countries, recently reaching an agreement with Oman to introduce an integrated tourist visa, while it has also reached an agreement with Bahrain to position both countries as a singular regional and global tourism destination.

Among its existing developments, Saudi Arabia’s Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has revealed plans to develop an eco-luxury resort in the ancient city that will offer its own museum.

Work started last year on the upcoming Royal Arts Complex in Riyadh - a project spanning more than 500,000sq m (5.4 millionsq ft) and featuring immersive experiences designed to cater to culture and art in all of its forms.

Famous contemporary French art museum Centre Pompidou is also making its way to Saudi Arabia, with an agreement signed for an overseas outpost in the kingdom as part of a US$5.2bn (€4.74bn, £4.18bn) investment made by the RCU.

Leaning into numerous IPs, a number of Transformers attractions are currently under development. Play-Doh and Warner Bros Discovery experiences are also in the mix.

US-based restaurant and entertainment company Dave & Buster’s is set to debut in the Middle East, with new franchise locations expected to open in Saudi Arabia over the next five years.

Another brand set to arrive is Ocean Park, which in April announced plans to develop its first attraction in the country. According to an MoU, Ocean Park will also develop a variety of location-based entertainment venues among Saudi cities, including FECs, waterparks, IP-based theme parks and animal attractions.

In downtown Riyadh, plans include a US$48bn (€45.5bn, £40bn) commercial development anchored by a cube-shaped skyscraper large enough to accommodate 20 Empire State buildings. Described as the world’s ‘first immersive experiential destination’, The Mukaab will use digital and virtual technologies and holographics to submerge visitors in different environments.

Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority (GEA) has also issued licences for more than 400 entertainment venues, including 24 theme parks.

Among them is the Qiddiya development, which will feature a number of attractions, among them a US$750m, (€672.8m, £562.2m) waterpark featuring nine world firsts alongside the highly-anticipated Six Flags Qiddiya.

According to Fahd Hamidaddin, chief executive of the Saudi Tourism Authority, “tourism is the new oil” for Saudi.

“What we’re doing, we are doing for our people, for our economy, and the world is going to reward us,” he said.

“In the 1920s the world came to Saudi for oil, but in the 2020s, we’re expecting the people of the world to come for tourism.”


 



© Kazoo 5 Limited 2024