Published On:05 February 2021
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

Saudi Arabia aiming to become exciting tourism destination for foreigners

By Danish Ahmad Khan

The conservative Saudi Arabia was until now a closed society, and generally not welcoming for foreign tourists. But, ever since the visionary, dynamic and suave Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman took charge the kingdom is witnessing a sea change. Consciously moving away from its oil-dependant economy, the diversification into other sectors is perceptible.

The unlikely destination for many in the past, Saudi Arabia replete with its rich history, heritage and gorgeous beaches is set to become an exciting tourism hotspot. Massive investments in tourist infrastructure and attractions are currently underway, Arab News reported.

Saudi Arabia had so far not allowed people to visit for tourism purposes either for sightseeing or recreation, except for the annual pilgrimage to Makkah and Medina. But the new changes in the country promises to bring significant transformations and positive effect. This is undoubtedly groundbreaking in many ways and will prompt the world citizens to see the kingdom differently, in a new light.

Ahmad bin Al Khateeb, Saudi Minister of Tourism, was quoted as saying that the Red Sea is still pristine, virgin, with protected corals and reefs and islands. Around 10,000 historical sites have also been discovered in the country, with five of them being listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. The minister also said that huge investments of $20 billion is to be made in future to boost tourism infrastructure, including airports, resorts and amusement parks.

It may be noted that the Red Sea, which has been attracting millions of tourists on the Egyptian shoreline, has remained mostly untouched on the Saudi Arabian side. Moreover, Saudi Arabia being the cradle of Arab civilization and birthplace of Islam is home to many ancient and medieval sites of historical significance, and bound to attract foreign tourists in a big way.

A recent study said that 1.5 billion people visited Saudi Arabia for tourism purposes in 2019. Of these, 30% were interested in history and heritage, while 40% visited for sea and sunshine.

Saudi Arabia is marching ahead with Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman’s ambitious Vision 2030, which aims to diversify the country’s economy from oil dependency to other industries, including tourism and energy. Saudi Arabia is planning to welcome 100 million annual visitors in the next 10 years, with the tourism revenue set to increase by 7% to contribute 10% of the country’s GDP.

[Danish Ahmad Khan is Founder-Editor of India’s First Online Muslim Newspaper – IndianMuslimObserver.com. He can be reached at indianmuslimobserver@gmail.com]

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on February 05, 2021. Filed under , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

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