Riyadh: Saudi Arabia is aiming to triple foreign tourists this year as pandemic restrictions are relaxed, the Mecca pilgrimage returns and the first element of the Crown Prince’s signature project opens, the Minister of Tourism said on Sunday. Told to AFP. The famous conservative and closed kingdom issued tourist visas in September 2019, just months before the coronavirus pandemic devastated the industry globally.

The increase in domestic travel in 2020 and 2021 (authorities recorded a record 64 million “domestic visits” last year) helped save the early Saudi Arabia tourism sector from collapse. In an interview. “Now we are pushing and working to attract more … foreign visitors,” he said, saying that this year’s goal has increased from 4 million in 2021 to 12 million. rice field.

“We’re back and very optimistic. Countries have begun to open their borders, restrictions have begun to be relaxed, and people have begun to travel,” he said. Saudi Arabia frowned on its goal of attracting 100 million visitors by 2030. This is an element of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 Reform Agenda, which aims to diversify oil-dependent economies and open them to the world.

In recent years, the Kingdom has relaxed rules banning cinemas, gender-combined concerts, and sports festivals, but other regulations, including alcohol bans, continue to be enforced and may undermine its appeal. Khateeb designated on Sunday that of the 100 million target visitors in 2030, 30 million would be foreign visitors and the rest would be travelers within Saudi Arabia.

Approximately 30 million visits will be religious trips, both resident and foreign, mainly to the two sanctuaries of Islam, Mecca and Medina. Next month, authorities plan to allow one million pilgrims to perform a Mecca pilgrimage two years after the coronavirus pandemic imposes a significant limit on the number of rituals each year.

Another notable feature of tourism promotion is the so-called Giga project led by Prince Mohammed. This includes the $ 500 billion futuristic metropolis known as NEOM and Dilia, home of the first Saudi Arabian state to be redeveloped as a heritage and entertainment destination. .. According to Khatib, the restaurant district of Dyria is scheduled to open in September, and other elements of such projects will be online “after 2025.”

“This is a new level of tourism that doesn’t exist today,” said Khatib, a NEOM executive. “Saudi Arabia will change the landscape of tourism globally … the destinations Saudi Arabia will provide by 2030, which is completely different,” he added. – AFP

Source link

Previous articleRunning rifles can be spectacular, the latest racing news
Next articleRTLToday-Gunman kills “many” worshipers in an attack on the Catholic Church in Nigeria