Latest News

Back to Latest News back


UNWTO Tourism Barometer identifies Saudi Arabia as fastest growing destination in the G20

UNWTO Tourism Barometer identifies Saudi Arabia as fastest growing destination in the G20
September 29, 2022

Saudi Arabia has been identified by the newly published UNWTO Tourism Barometer, as the fastest growing tourism destination in the G20.

The UNWTO Barometer monitors short-term tourism trends on a regular basis to provide global tourism stakeholders with up-to-date analysis on international tourism. The report is published four times a year and includes an analysis of the latest data on tourism destinations and source markets.

Saudi Arabia's exponential sector growth has seen an extraordinary +121% increase from pre-pandemic international tourism levels. The substantial tourism recovery recognises not only Saudi's considerable investment in tourism, but also the country's pioneering leadership in future-proofing its tourism sector.

Tourism is a key pillar of Saudi's transformative Vision 2030 and the country has ambitious goals to ensure that tourism contributes 10% of the country's GDP by 2030.

Saudi was swift in its response to the pandemic and rolled out vaccines to ensure high immunisation rates quickly which accelerated the easing of restrictions and the reopening of the country to tourists. The government also implemented several measures aimed at supporting companies and employees working in the tourism sector thereby mitigating the effects of the pandemic.

According to the UNWTO Tourism Barometer, the global tourism sector saw international tourist arrivals almost triple from January to July 2022 (+172%) compared to the same period of 2021. This means the sector recovered to almost 60% of pre-pandemic levels.

His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb, Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia, and Chairman of the Board of Saudi Tourism Authority notes "Recognition of Saudi's achievements in the UNWTO Tourism Barometer is a key milestone in our extraordinary recovery and much of the success lies in our leadership's multipronged approach to managing the pandemic and accelerating the sector's pace of recovery.

“Saudi opened to the world in September 2019 and through continued leadership and commitment, we have made incomparable progress toward realizing our ambitious Vision 2030 tourism goals. We are invested in a sustainable future for tourism, and today I am proud of Saudi's position as the fastest growing tourism destination in the G20."

Saudi Tourism Authority (STA), launched in June 2020, is responsible for marketing Saudi's tourism destinations worldwide and developing the destination's offering through programs, packages and business support. Its mandate includes developing the country's unique assets and destinations, hosting and participating in industry events, and promoting Saudi's destination brand locally and overseas. STA operates 16 representative offices around the world, serving 38 countries.

Related Articles

28th September 2022 - Saudi Arabia launches integrated digital platform to facilitate international pilgrim journeys

6th September 2022 - Dorna Sports and Saudi Motorsport Company to host MotoGP in Saudi Arabia

26th August 2022 - Saudi Pro League announces new major sponsorship deal with ROSHN

7th August 2022 - Saudi Arabia to bid for 2026 AFC Women’s Asian Cup

5th August 2022 - Enhance Fitness announces its launch into Saudi Arabia

8th June 2022 - 100,000 young Saudis to be equipped with key hospitality skills via new program

27th May 2022 - Work commences on Royal Arts Complex at Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Park Foundation

20th May 2022 - Saudi Arabia’s cultural heritage at the heart of tourism growth

23rd April 2022 - WTTC announces Saudi Arabia as next host destination in November this year

27th March 2022 - Saudi Arabia F1 Grand Prix to proceed despite attack on nearby oil depot

4th March 2022 - Innovative technologies to drive mountain tourism destination in Saudi Arabia’s NEOM ‘future city’

26th February 2022 - Saudi Arabia’s Qiddiya awards contract for Middle East’s largest waterpark

15th December 2021 - US$1 billion construction contract agreed for Six Flags Qiddiya theme park in Saudi Arabia

5th November 2021 - Saudi Arabia’s NEOM looks to welcome tourists and investors as of 2024

27th October 2021 - Tourism leaders meet in Saudi Arabia to redesign the future of the industry

23rd October 2021 - WTTC and Ministry of Tourism Saudi Arabia launch report addressing global tourism sector recovery

31st August 2021 - ASM Global appointed managing operator for two venues in Saudi Arabia

31st August 2021 - Report shows Saudi Arabia attracting US$1 trillion in infrastructure and mega-projects

6th August 2021 - Saudi Arabia launches US$530 million fund to develop tourism destinations

25th February 2021 - New company launched to develop mountain tourism in Saudi Arabia’s Asir region

30th September 2020 - Women-only waterpark opened in Saudi Arabia

25th February 2020 - Saudi Arabia commences construction on NEOM

4th February 2020 - Golf Saudi advances regional strategy with support from STRI

3rd January 2020 - New research shows increasing tourist interest in visiting Saudi Arabia

27th September 2019 - Saudi Arabia looks to open up to non-Muslim international tourists