Saudi Arabia has taken a renowned position in global tourism with unique achievements, mainly after the launch of its Sustainable Tourism Global Center (STGC).
The Ministry of Tourism said in a report that 60 million domestic trips, valued at $21.3 billion, were made in 2020, recording a 30 percent increase compared to 2019.
The number of workers in the tourism sector increased by 10 percent compared to 2020.
The report also recalled that Saudi Arabia would host the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTCC) in 2022.
World Tourism Organization (WTO) also chose Saudi Arabia as the host country for the World Tourism Day in 2023.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, the WTO adopted the initiative of Saudi Arabia and Spain to establish a working group to redesign the future of tourism and address the underlying challenges facing the industry.
The Kingdom also established the Global Tourism Academy in cooperation with the WTO and launched the regional office of the Organization in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Tourism Minister Ahmed al-Khateeb confirmed that the tourism sector has made several accomplishments in the past year despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Khateeb recalled that Saudi Arabia reached record numbers in domestic tourism, restored a large percentage of foreign tourism, and achieved significant growth in job opportunities.
He said Saudi Arabia will become one of the important destinations in the world.
“Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had announced clear goals for the tourism sector and presented opportunities to achieve them by 2030,” said the minister.
Khateeb stated that the Sustainable Tourism Global Center would support travelers, government agencies, and the private sector by enabling tourism to grow and create job opportunities.
The center will also work on the climate goals stipulated in the Paris Agreement, including delivering commitments to keep the rise in global temperatures below 1.5°C.
Tourism and travel account for eight percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Saudi Arabia is seeking to achieve an urgent change in tourism practices, as it has set a priority for the sector to reach net-zero emissions.
The Center will bring together a multi-country, multi-stakeholder coalition. It will offer best-in-class guidance and expertise to the sector to transform the collective approach to tackling sustainability.
It aims to be the hub for the tourism sector as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and transitions toward a sustainable future.