Saudi earns $1.6bn in domestic spend

Old city of Jeddah

Saudi Summer, the Kingdom’s largest ever domestic leisure tourism campaign, launched by the Saudi Tourism Authority (STA), has published visitor and spending statistics for the first half of the campaign, revealing a highly successful first phase.

In the seven weeks since the campaign launch on June 25, overall tourism spending has amounted to around SAR6 billion ($1.6 billion) – an increase of 26 per cent over the same period last year.

“Saudi Summer is an invitation to the citizens and residents of Saudi Arabia to explore and get to know their own country better,” said Fahd Hamidaddin, Chief Executive Officer of the STA.

“While we are focusing on providing multiple destinations and experiences for those already in the Kingdom, we are also preparing for international tourists to return, so we will be ready to welcome visitors safely again when the time is right.” 

Through partnerships with 90 tourism businesses, including hotels, tour operators and destination management companies, the STA has developed 100 tourism offers and packages across multiple price points, for families, groups and single travellers.

Spending on recreation and cultural activities exceeded SAR1 billion ($267 million), an increase of 25 per cent over 2019. Spending in restaurants amounted to SAR3.8 billion ($1 billion), an increase of 38 per cent over last year.

Sun and sea destinations, including Umluj, Yanbu and King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) saw spending increase 64 per cent over the same period in 2019. Peak hotel occupancy rates were above 90 per cent and exceeded 95 per cent in in Abha, Baha and Taif during the Eid holiday.

The Saudi Summer campaign includes Saudi Arabia’s first ever leisure cruise offering on the Red Sea. The first passengers embarked on August 27 for a three-day voyage along Saudi Arabia’s unspoiled western coastline.

“The success of Saudi Summer is boosting the local tourism sector, which suffered during the Covid-19 restrictions, and the broader economy at home,” said Fahd Hamidaddin.

“The campaign aims to uncover new destinations for domestic audiences to discover their own country, sometimes for the first time.”