Saudi Arabia’s travel and tourism sector is projected to contribute more than $81 billion to the GDP of the country by 2026.
That is according to figures that have been released by the World Travel and Tourism Council as they gear up for this year’s Arabian Travel Market (ATM) which revealed there are an additional 61,224 hotel rooms in the pipeline across Saudi Arabia.
Senior exhibition director ATM 2017 Simon Press said: “Plans are already well underway to achieve this target. “The government has appointed the board of the General Entertainment Authority, and Six Flags has revealed exciting plans to expand into the country, with the first entertainment park scheduled to open as soon as 2020-21.”
Press said that Saudi exhibitors will have a strong presence at this year’s ATM with a number of high profile projects in the spotlight.
These include the opening of two major shopping malls in Riyadh: Mall of Saudi, with 300,000 sq m of retail and entertainment space, a snow park and hotels, and The Avenues Riyadh, a $1.9bn shopping complex.
Kingdom Tower, which is projected to become the world’s tallest building when completed, is another project that is expected to be a major talking point at the event.
Despite a drop of 4.8% in occupancy rates in Saudi Arabia in 2016, according to STR, Press says he expects 2017 to be more positive.
He pointed to a particularly strong focus on leisure, religious and domestic tourism as the country looks to increase the contribution from the non-oil sectors.
ATM takes place from 24-27 April at Dubai International Exhibition and Convention Centre.