Saudi tourism supported by domestic demand

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DUBAI – As Saudi Arabia moves forward with Vision 2030, with tourism identified as a key economic driver, the Kingdom’s tourism and travel leaders gathered at the Saudi Arabia ATM 2021 Tourism Summit on the stage on Monday. world to discuss the positive impact of the strategy for the country, its people, investors and millions of travelers around the world.

Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO of Saudi Tourism Authority (STA), Majed Alnefaie, Interim CEO of Seera, Capt, Ibrahim Koshy, CEO, Saudi Arabia Airlines (Saudia) and Dr Afnan Al Shuaiby, Founder and CEO of FNN International and president of the Arab International Women’s Forum.

The public heard how Saudi Arabia is preparing to reopen its borders to foreign tourists shortly and that it is on track to achieve its ambition of attracting 100 million tourists per year by 2030.

Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO of STA, spoke of the Kingdom’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, which had just opened up to international tourism in September 2019: “While the travel and tourism sector was paralyzed around the world, Arabia Arabia continued to move.

“While the priority has been saving lives, we are also committed to protecting livelihoods and saving jobs through our successful domestic tourism campaign, which resulted in a 33% increase in spending, the rate hotel occupancy was 50% and the number of Destination Marketing Companies (DMCs) within the Kingdom increased from 17 to 93. ”

The strength of the domestic market was highlighted in 2020 and in the first quarter of 2021, with Saudia operating its 28 national airports at nearly 80% of its 2019 levels and demand sometimes exceeding capacity.

The numbers are expected to rise further with the recent resumption of international travel for residents and citizens and the operation of the new King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) as a true regional hub.

Discussing Saudia’s outlook, CEO Captain Koshy said, “There’s a lot going on in Saudi Arabia that will accelerate the airline’s return to profit. We will emerge much leaner and stronger as a business, with profitability expected in 2024, if not sooner, as the Kingdom’s potential market continues to grow at a rapid rate. We may also see aircraft orders this year to meet expected capacity demand. “

The second session of the ATM Saudi Arabia Tourism Summit on the ATM world stage explored the ‘giga-project effect’, developments that preserve and promote the Kingdom’s heritage, culture and natural assets at parks in theme, to futuristic desert cities and luxury resorts. with a strong emphasis on sustainability.

“It was a great opportunity for the panelists to reveal how the country is setting new benchmarks in the global sector and for the travel industry to meet with business leaders playing a pivotal role in achieving Vision 2030 by leading projects ambitious goals that will set Saudi Arabia apart as a destination like no other, ”said Danielle Curtis, ME Exhibition Director, Arabian Travel Market.

The 2021 ATM Tourism Summit in Saudi Arabia continues next week (Monday, May 24) at ATM Virtual. With the outlook for long-term tourism in Saudi Arabia looking brighter than ever, heavyweights in the hospitality industry will discuss the vast potential for new and innovative hospitality concepts that keep pace with this demand and the rapidly changing market. customer demographics, now and in the future. – SG

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