The resurgence of travel and tourism across the Middle East region has been notably robust, surpassing pre-pandemic levels in nearly every GCC country.

However, Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry continues to thrive, welcoming 27.6 million overnight tourists this year. This is expected to increase further, with a projected 30 million tourists by 2024 and more than 50 million by 2032, according to the latest Economic Insight report for the Middle East, commissioned by ICAEW and compiled by Oxford Economics.

The government recently revised its 2030 visitor target to 150 million (both domestic and international), up from the previous 100 million, aiming for the tourism sector to contribute 6% of GDP in the current year and 10% by 2030, stated the report.

The introduction of a unified GCC tourist visa, expected to take effect in 2024 or 2025, will likely further amplify visitor arrivals to the region, it added.

Scott Livermore, ICAEW Economic Advisor, and Chief Economist and Managing Director, Oxford Economics Middle East, said: “The global economic backdrop is weakening as we enter 2024, with most major economies poised for a significant slowdown. However, there are indicators of optimism for the region.”

“We have seen better than expected recovery in the travel and tourism sector which will continue to drive GDP expansion next year, outpacing global growth forecasts,” he added.

Source : Zawya

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