Saudi tourism sector recovering fast amid global economic uncertainties: PwC Middle East
Amid global economic uncertainties triggered by high inflation, geopolitical tensions, and rising interest rates, Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector is quickly recovering, according to professional services network firm PwC Middle East.
In its latest report, PwC Middle East revealed that the Kingdom received almost 6 million visitors in the fourth quarter of 2022, up 47 percent compared to the same quarter in 2019.
It noted that regulatory reforms and the development of attractions like the Riyadh Season festival are driving the tourism sector in the Kingdom, which aims to receive 25 million tourists this year, which is 43 percent more than in 2019.
Saudi Arabia’s National Tourism Strategy aims to attract 100 million visitors by 2030, along with increasing the contribution of the sector to the Kingdom’s gross domestic product to more than 10 percent. The strategy also eyes creating an additional 1 million jobs in the Kingdom.
The report further noted that Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 is providing a powerful framework for shaping the Kingdom’s economy.
“Saudi Arabia’s economy has shown great growth since the launch of Vision 2030… The Kingdom’s increased focus on diversity has enabled the country to lead its economic sustainability agenda on a larger scale,” said Faisal Al-Sarraj, partner and KSA deputy country leader at PwC Middle East.
Al-Sarraj added: “This only gives us more optimism that the future for the Kingdom expands beyond Vision 2030 and will continue to lead by example through innovative solutions and transformation.”
The report said that Saudi Arabia has already outperformed some of the goals outlined in Vision 2030, such as female workforce participation which surged to 36 percent, already ahead of the 2030 target of 30 percent.
“Meanwhile, economic diversification plans are paying off — the share of the non-oil economy is at 59 percent, with non-oil GDP in 2022 being 15 percent larger in real terms and 28 percent in nominal terms compared to the pre-vision baseline,” the report added.
The report further pointed out that countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council are “somewhat insulated from the global rocky recovery, supported by oil prices and strong sovereign and corporate balance sheets.”