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Saudi tourism revenue to grow

 Saudi Arabia’s revenues through tourism sector is expected to reach SR239 billion by 2019.

The Kingdom’s tourism market is currently generating around SR52 billion in annual revenues, according to a high-ranking official of Riyadh Exhibition Company (REC).

Mohammed Al-Hussaini, REC’s Deputy General Manager, said that the export earnings from international travelers and tourism services the Kingdom’s revenues is expected to bring in SR239 billion by 2019.

“As the largest economy in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia has the necessary resources to expand travel and tourism as major income generators. Several tourism development opportunities are available in cities such as Al-Wajh, Assir, Al-Qassim, and in Hail. One of the government’s priorities is to increase the regional and global visibility of the Kingdom’s tourism and hospitality offerings,” he said.

Al-Hussaini said Saudi Arabia’s inbound tourism has increased 11 percent over the past two years.

Saudi Arabia’s travel and tourism sector has helped the Kingdom to maintain a healthy national economic growth despite protracted global financial crisis.

STTIM visitors, mainly comprised of business-to-business and business-to-consumer travel and tourism will learn more about the latest local industry trends, best practices and opportunities offered at the exhibition, he said.

Despite being one of the 22 highest inbound markets in the world, the Kingdom is gearing up to tap and fully develop its potential in tourism sector, he said.

Several trade events are already being lined up to encourage regional and international investors and exhibitors to explore the prospects available within the thriving Saudi Travel and Tourism Market.

Travel and tourism together combined contributed 7.2 percent or around SR102 billion of the Kingdom’s GDP last year. The sector’s employment contribution is expected to increase from 590,000 jobs in 2009 or 7.3 percent of the national workforce to 922,000 jobs or 9.4 percent of employment by 2019.

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