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Saudi Arabia to Celebrate 100 Million Tourists Milestone at ITB Berlin

New Delhi, March 7, 2024 – Saudi will mark the start of the world’s leading travel show ITB Berlin today with a major event to celebrate the landmark achievement of reaching 100 million tourists in 2023 – seven years ahead of schedule.

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Saudi has returned to ITB for the second year running with a delegation of more than 55 partners led by His Excellency Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Minister of Tourism and Chairman of the Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) accompanied by wider Saudi tourism ecosystem leaders and key partners including destination management companies, hotels, and airlines. Following on from the success of winning “best exhibitor” at last year’s show, His Excellency Al-Khateeb was joined by partners and visitors this morning to inaugurate Saudi’s most immersive and active stand yet that will be front and center of its 2024 ITB presence. Throughout the three-day show, Saudi will showcase and build awareness of its world-class year-round destination offerings to the European market, strengthen and establish new trade partnerships, and celebrate the remarkable year-on-year growth of its tourism sector.

It comes after Saudi announced the historic milestone of welcoming more than 100 million domestic and international tourists in 2023. This places Saudi well ahead of the original 100 million targets set out under Vision 2030 and has accelerated progress towards a new increased target of 150 million tourists by 2030. To mark the impressive milestone that has further cemented Saudi as a tourism powerhouse, His Excellency Al-Khateeb will be hosting a celebratory reception convening global tourism leaders on the sideline of ITB to showcase the remarkable growth and development of Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector later today. The event, titled Breaking Records, Building Bridges, will bring together leaders from the global travel industry and distinguished guests and will further spotlight the exceptional collaborative opportunities that await exploration in the heart of Arabia.

Speaking on the milestone achievement, His Excellency Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Minister of Tourism and Chairman of the Saudi Tourism Authority, said:

“Saudi’s expanded participation in this year’s ITB Berlin reflects our tremendous growth, as we celebrate a milestone of achieving over 100 million tourists in 2023.

“This achievement is not merely a number, but a testament to our unwavering commitment, our ability to inspire investment commitments into the tourism sector, and the collaborations made across the Saudi tourism ecosystem as a whole, which has propelled us forward as one of the world’s most dynamic destinations.

“Our goal is to strengthen Saudi’s position among the top 10 nations in the G20 for tourism, as the premier choice for both tourists and investors, a global powerhouse for tourism.”

Saudi’s 2024 ITB stand will feature a range of experiences including a full-size F1 car and virtual driving simulation of the Jeddah Grand Prix circuit, a Saudi Pro League Museum featuring an array of football memorabilia, live performances of traditional Saudi dances, a Saudi Café and a date museum where visitors can try a selection of Saudi dates and coffee pairings.

A record number of Saudi partners will also be showcasing hundreds of bookable products for partners in destinations such as Jeddah, AlUla, and the Red Sea. STA will establish new relationships and build on existing global partnerships during the trade show and has already seen the announcement of a new route into Berlin from Flynas today.

The route from Jeddah to Berlin launches in September, with three flights per week.

Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO and Board Member of the Saudi Tourism Authority said:

“Following on from the success of being named best exhibitor at last year’s event, we’re delighted to be back at ITB with an even bigger and more immersive stand.

“It’s a reflection of the importance of the European market for Saudi as we accelerate progress towards our new increased target of 150 million tourists by 2030. In 2023, Saudi welcomed over 950k visitors, marking an increase of 65% compared to 2022 levels. The increase from German tourists alone to Saudi was a 61% increase compared to the previous year, showing the developed appetite for Saudi as a destination.”

“Today’s growth is just the start of our story and our success to date is the foundation for tomorrow’s investments, so we look forward to building new partnerships, showcasing the wealth of opportunities in Saudi right now, and building knowledge around our diverse and dynamic destination.”

Saudi’s tourism sector has achieved a full recovery since the pandemic with a 56% growth in international arrivals in 2023 compared to 2019 – the highest in the G20. The increase in 2023 was driven by a 65% increase in international visits, with close to 11 million more inbound visits compared to 2022, from 16.6 million in 2022 to 27.4 million in 2023.

With an unwavering dedication to fostering collaborations with trade partners, Saudi has poured over $800 billion into its burgeoning tourism industry. A staggering $500 billion has been specifically earmarked for the development of destinations, paving the way for more than $6 trillion in investment opportunities in Saudi until 2030. Over the past 12 months, NEOM has also announced several new destinations including arts and entertainment destination Utamo and most recently Elanan – an exclusive wellness retreat on the Gulf of Aqaba coastline. The Red Sea resorts of Six Senses Southern Dunes and St Regis resorts also opened recently, months ahead of schedule.

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