Saudi Arabia Tourism Takes Off With most tourist from China, UK, Malaysia, United States and Canada

Saudi Arabia’s ancient UNESCO heritage site Madain Saleh will open to tourists for the first time in 2020 (PRNewsfoto/SCTH/ Visit Saudi)

New YouGov research has identified a rise in tourism interest in Saudi Arabia from around the world, with one in five tourists more likely to visit Saudi Arabia for a vacation now than five years ago.

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The YouGov research surveyed 9,521 people across the USAChina and five key markets in Europe, revealed a growing interest in visiting Saudi Arabia.

The data coincides with the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) revealing its top inbound source markets since Saudi Arabia’s opened its doors to international tourism.  Since the launch of the new tourism visa in September, visitors from China, UK, MalaysiaUnited States and Canada have topped the list of new arrivals welcomed into Saudi Arabia.

Saudi’s historic sites appear to be an important attraction for tourists to the Kingdom. Amongst those surveyed by YouGov, over one in five (22%) are keen to visit Jeddah’s historic old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Meanwhile, another UNESCO site, previously only known to a few travellers, is gaining a following amongst Chinese millennials.  Al Ula now tops the list of destinations in the Arab world of a third of Chinese tourists under the age of 35.

Italians top the list with 35% surveyed saying they would be more likely to visit Saudi Arabia following the new visa launch. British tourists were 15% more likely just ahead of Americans at 14%.

The research also points to new opportunities for multi destination tourism growth. Of all respondents 73% reported a preference to visit several destinations rather than stay in one location.

Arab League Tourism Ministers Meeting

The research is released as Saudi Arabia takes on the presidency of the Arab League Tourism Ministers Meeting at the end of a historic year for the Kingdom. Tourism Ministers from across the Arab world met earlier this month for the 22nd Annual Arab Tourism Ministers Meeting. During the meeting they discussed opportunities for regional-wide tourism offerings and unified strategies for sustainable growth of the sector to benefit local communities and the environment.

His Excellency Ahmad bin Aqil Al Khatib Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) said:

This year marked the historic moment of Saudi Arabia opening its doors to the world. We are welcoming more visitors and investors than ever before. To those thinking of visiting Saudi Arabia in 2020, you won’t find a warmer welcome anywhere in the world.”

 

YouGov Research

Total unweighted

More likely to visit Saudi Arabia[1]

Of ME destinations, most likely to visit Jeddah, Saudi Arabia[2]

Most likely to visit multiple destinations during vacation (always, sometimes, all vacations)

ITALY

1003

35%

17%

87%

SPAIN

1053

23%

19%

88%

CHINA

1038

22%

10%

80%

GERMANY

2112

19%

15%

62%

FRANCE

1011

19%

11%

81%

UK

2106

15%

18%

70%

USA

1198

14%

28%

69%

DETAIL: Al Ula (UNESCO heritage site opening 2020)

Total unweighted

18-34

35-54

55+

GERMANY

2112

19%

11%

4%

CHINA

1038

36%

26%

7%

SPAIN

1053

15%

10%

7%

FRANCE

1011

14%

8%

1%

UK

2106

4%

3%

1%

ITALY

1003

3%

5%

3%

USA

1198

8%

4%

2%

INBOUND Tourism 27 Sept to 21 December 2019 (Source: SCTH)

TOP 5 NATIONALITIES

China 22%

United Kingdom 13%

Malaysia 15%

United States 8%

Canada 4%

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