Saudi Arabia plans to open around 12,000 hotel rooms in 2022: Tourism minister

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Saudi Arabia plans to open around 12,000 hotel rooms in 2022, marking a 6 percent growth rate, Tourism Minister Ahmed al-Khateeb told Al Arabiya on Tuesday.

Acknowledging the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism and travel sector worldwide, al-Khateeb said that the Kingdom has since 2021 witnessed a revival of the sector. He was speaking on the sidelines of the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh.

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Al-Khateeb also voiced the importance of e-visas and developing routes to link the Kingdom to various destinations across the world to further increase and ease accessibility to tourists, adding that direct flights are one of the factors which travelers take into consideration when making travel plans.

In July, Saudi Arabia topped the list of G20 countries for tourism arrivals during a busy summer spell of travel to the country, with figures showing more than double the number of visitors traveling to the Kingdom year-on-year.

According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, revealed during a UNWTO meeting in Bali, Indonesia, the numbers of tourists heading to Saudi Arabia rose by 121 percent in July 2022 compared to July last year, largely in part to around one million pilgrims who headed to the Kingdom to perform the annual Hajj.

Separately on Tuesday, CEO of Red Sea Global (RSG) John Pagano said THE RED SEA project will open its first three resorts in the spring of 2023, while 13 others will open in 2024.

Earlier on Tuesday, Pagano revealed that The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC), the developer of the Kingdom’s luxurious touristic destinations THE RED SEA and AMAALA, has been rebranded as Red Sea Global. He said that was to “reflect the evolution of the comapny.”

Pagano also said that AMAALA is not far behind in terms of construction of resorts.

“We have eight resorts under construction there which will open and welcome our guests at the end of 2024,” he said, adding that work in both projects is going as planned.

“We launched designs for a beautiful yacht club… and a very large-scale marina to really welcome yachts from around the world and especially from the Mediterranean, and that project will complete the first phase in 2024.”

Pagano underscored that the environmental and sustainable aspects of the projects are vital, noting that he seeks to attract the private sector to be part the projects.

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