Saudi Arabia remains on track to reach its ambitious target of welcoming 100 million guests annually by 2030, according to the chief executive of the Saudi Tourism Authority.
Speaking at the Future Hospitality Summit earlier today, Fahd Hamidaddin said Covid-19 would slow growth in arrivals over the next two years, but the long-term plan remained in place.
“Our annual targets have dropped in the short term, but we are planning on regaining our trajectory in 2023 toward our goal of 100 million guests annually by 2030.
“It is very possible we will exceed this stated ambition.”
With borders currently closed, Saudi Arabia focused on domestic tourism this year – laughing a successful summer campaign.
However, the demand from overseas guests remains, Fahd Hamidaddin argued.
“From May to August this year the number of people searching for travel in Saudi Arabia in our key source markets increase by 40 per cent – people are wondering when they can travel again.”
He added: “Saudi Arabia is one of the new destinations coming onto the market – and it is not a difficult to keep it exciting for those who are culturally curious.
“What we saw when we opened our doors to the world last year was an influx of 400,000 visitors in the next three months.
“Yes, we have currently closed our borders, but once we open again, we are confident guests will come back.
“We are revisiting our designs for the future, and it is a great opportunity for us to start thinking of these next generation of experiences.”
Future Hospitality Summit is a hybrid virtual conference developed to explore big ideas and tackle the challenges facing the hospitality industry, and will take place in Riyadh over the next two days.
The event, which promises to be one of the most impactful gatherings of the hospitality community, will be delivered on a cutting-edge event platform from Bench Digital.
It will provide an immersive live experience, including a virtual exhibition, one-to-one video networking and integrated chat features to all participants.
Future Hospitality Summit is organised by ministry of tourism Saudi Arabia and G20 Saudi Secretariat as part of the International Conferences Program, honouring the G20 Saudi presidency 2020.