Local tourism in Saudi Arabia had undergone several stages of development until it turned into an organized sector supported by regulations, projects and programs.
Saudi Arabia had also further polished its image as a tourism destination by the launching of e-visas for tourists. It opened its gates to the world in a way that matches its rich heritage and tourism attractions it has to offer visitors.
Many Saudi towns, cities and historic sites are gaining a competitive edge on local and international levels thanks to the attention they have secured from Kingdom authorities that have made transforming the country into a tourism destination a prevalent trend.
The Saudi Cabinet had approved the establishment of the Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) based on the recommendation of Council of Economic and Development Affairs.
King Salman bin Abdulaziz issued in February 2020 a royal decree to set up a new ministry for tourism, after cancelling the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), and appointed Ahmed Al-Khateeb as head of the ministry.
The Saudi Tourism Authority is tasked with supervising, developing and marketing tourist packages and products both locally and internationally.
Over the last two decades, Saudi Arabia underwent a number of advanced stages in the file of organized tourism. The Asir region, nestled in southern Saudi Arabia, witnessed the formation of the first committee to stimulate tourism back in 1995.
In 2000, the Supreme Commission for Tourism was established. Over the years its name was changed, until a Ministry of Tourism was established in 2020.
The Ministry seeks to raise the contribution of the tourism sector to the Gross domestic product (GDP) from 3% to 10%.
It also focuses on creating an attractive investment environment, providing diverse packages of tourism services and offers, developing tourist destinations and sites, generating one million jobs in the tourism sector, and qualifying human labor working in the sector.