Saudi Arabia unlocks bold tourism plans for 2030 and beyond

ZamZam Tower Makkah in Saudi Arabia. Picture: Unsplash

ZamZam Tower Makkah in Saudi Arabia. Picture: Unsplash

Published Mar 13, 2024


Saudi Arabia has positioned itself as a global tourism powerhouse following the launch of a new initiative, the Tourism Investment Enabler Program (TIEP), Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Tourism, His Excellency Ahmed Al-Khateeb, announced this week.

The Kingdom reached a milestone of 100 million visitors by 2023, seven years ahead of an initial target and “Vision 2030” plans.

The Middle Eastern powerhouse is expected to ramp up its measures to drive tourism and investment in the region.

TIEP aims to significantly boost the country’s fast-growing tourism sector, make it easier to conduct business, boost tourism for international and local investors, facilitate access to government-owned land under favourable terms, streamline project development processes and reduce barriers to market entry.

The Saudi Ministry of Tourism said that its flagship Hospitality Investment Enablers, part of the TIEP, in collaboration with the Ministry of Investment, is behind the bold initiative that will result in a $ 11 billion dollar (R220 million) investment in key tourism sites across the Kingdom.

It is expected to create 120 000 job opportunities.

“This initiative will facilitate and increase the supply of accommodation capacity in targeted tourism destinations, enhancing the diversity of the Kingdom’s offering, and marking a pivotal move to position Saudi Arabia as a leading global tourism destination,” said the ministry of tourism.

Saudi Arabia also facilitated multiple regulatory adjustments as part of its efforts to lower operational costs and encourage industry growth.

A notable aspect of the initiative was to benefit local communities across tourism destinations.

“The wider TIEP includes regulatory reforms across tourism licensing for multiple types and scales of operations now available to better fit the specific needs of investors.

“The Ministry of Tourism has worked with partners across government to achieve a more streamlined investment pathway, pushing annual government fees down by nearly 22% with a goal to reduce further in the near future,” said the ministry.

HE Al-Khateeb said: “Saudi Arabia offers the world a rich diversity of culture and experiences. ‘Vision 2030’ has put Saudi Arabia on the pathway to become a global tourism powerhouse with the tourism sector in Saudi being a key driver of economic diversification.

“In 2023, we saw a 390% increase in demand for tourism activity licenses and this is just the beginning. Over the next 10 years, Saudi Arabia will be the world’s top investor in this sector as we continue to unlock our country’s potential,” said HE Al-Khateeb.