Saudi Gazette report
RIYADH — The Ministry of Tourism in Saudi Arabia has reported impressive figures for the first quarter of 2023, highlighting the remarkable turnaround in the country’s balance of payments for travel items. In contrast to a deficit of SR1.6 billion in the first quarter of the previous year, Saudi Arabia now boasts a substantial surplus of SR22.8 billion during the same period.
This dramatic shift can be attributed to the phenomenal growth in incoming tourism revenues, which surged by an astounding 225% compared to the first quarter of 2022, reaching a staggering SR37 billion, as per data from the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA).
This accomplishment signifies the culmination of the ministry’s unwavering commitment to bolstering the tourism sector and its pivotal role in driving the national economy forward—an endeavor that aligns seamlessly with the objectives outlined in the National Tourism Development Strategy.
Data released by SAMA underscores the substantial contribution of the tourism sector to the Current Account Balance, a testament to the Ministry of Tourism’s tireless efforts, backed by strong support from the Saudi leadership. These efforts have positioned Saudi Arabia among the top international destinations by implementing best practices in tourism development, enhancing tourism services and products, and fostering continuous collaboration with various government agencies to nurture the growth of the Kingdom’s tourism sector.
In recent times, Saudi Arabia has achieved notable milestones in the tourism industry. The country has ascended an impressive 16 places in the international tourism revenue index, ranking 11th globally in 2022, a significant leap from its 27th position in 2019. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia continued to excel internationally, welcoming approximately 7.8 million tourists in the first quarter of 2023—an unparalleled quarterly performance that represents a remarkable 64% growth compared to the same period in 2019. Consequently, the Kingdom secured the second position globally in terms of the growth rate of international tourists, according to data released by the World Tourism Organization in May 2023.