The value of Saudis spending on foreign tourism in 2016 amounted to 98.8 billion riyals compared to 84 billion riyals in 2015, with an increase of 17%, the highest percentage in three years.
According to the Economic Reports Unit of the Economist and based on Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), Saudi spending on foreign tourism amounted to more than half a trillion riyals, the equivalent of 580.7 billion riyals in ten years, specifically from 2007 to 2016.
The Saudis spent 65.2 billion riyals on “holidays and shopping,” highlighting a 54% increase compared to the Saudis’ spending on holidays and shopping in 2015.
The second place was for “visiting relatives and friends” with 21.6 billion riyals registering a 0.2 per cent increase, while the third place was reserved for spending on business and conferences which amounted to 4.6 billion riyals and is down 35 per cent.
For touristic trips with other purposes, the value of Saudis’ spending amounted to 7.45 billion riyals in 2016 witnessing a decrease of 44%.
For the purposes of external tourism, the Saudis have left the country with 21.3 million trips in 2016 compared to 20.8 million in 2015 highlighting a 2 percent increase.
“Gulf Arab States” are a popular tourism destination for Saudis with 11.3 million trips to these countries, followed by “Middle East countries excluding the Gulf States” with 5.2 million trips, South Asia with 2.4 million flights, European countries with 975 thousand trips in 2016, then Africa with 635 thousand trips, East Asia and the Pacific with 606 thousand trips, and finally North and South America with 148 thousand trips.
The Public Investment Fund has announced the establishment of the world’s largest recreational, cultural and sporting city, Al Qadeya Project, to promote economic and developmental aspects within the community. The aim is to reduce or direct a large portion of the Saudis’ overseas spending locally.
The new city, announced by Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, Crown Prince and Chairman of the Public Investment Fund, is located in Al Qadeya, southwest of the capital Riyadh, and will be the first of its kind in the world including a major safari area.