Saudi Arabia: Tourism opens up a world of opportunities

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Saudi's and visitors atop a heritage hill overlooking the Holy city of Makkah. According to the latest report, the Saudi Travel and Tourism market is expected to reach US $11.4 billion in 2014.
Saudi’s and visitors atop a heritage hill overlooking the Holy city of Makkah. According to the latest report, the Saudi Travel and Tourism market is expected to reach US $11.4 billion in 2014. Photo-STTIM

 

A new report by the global travel market research firm PhoCusWright predicts that the travel market in Saudi Arabia will increase at a steady rate of 4 percent, from USD 10.2 billion in 2012 to USD 11.4 billion in 2014.

Co-sponsored by Amadeus, the report is titled ‘Assessing The Online Travel Opportunity: The Middle East’ and it provides a detailed assessment of the travel and tourism industry throughout the Middle East. It also provides insight into the growth and future potential of online travel and tourism.

The report reveals that online sales in Saudi Arabia are expected to double over the next two years, largely because of increasing e-commerce penetration across the region. By 2014, just the online portion of the travel and tourism industry in Saudi Arabia is estimated to reach USD 1.9 billion.

Nashat M. Bukhari, General Manager of Amadeus – Saudi Arabia, states, “the Saudi Arabian travel and tourism industry continues to evolve at a fast pace, evident in the increasing number of online bookings. Religious tourism continues to drive the industry in Saudi Arabia. Additionally, diversification of the population has encouraged domestic tourism as well as the flow of inbound and outbound passengers”.

The report points out that about 26 percent of mobile users browse the internet for travel-related information and make online travel purchases. Online Travel Agencies (OTA’s) in Saudi Arabia grew by nearly 25 percent in 2012.

After experiencing turbulent times during the Arab Spring, the Middle East travel industry has regained momentum and grew by 12% in 2012. The industry is expected to sustain double-digit growth levels through 2014.

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