2.5 million foreign visitors arrived in Saudi Arabia in February

March 24, 2023

Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH — Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb said that the tourism sector in Saudi Arabia recorded historical figures in terms of occupancy rates and the number of visitors from abroad.

The number of visitors who arrived in the Kingdom during the month of January reached 2.4 million, and this number increased to 2.5 million visitors during February.

Al-Khateeb said this while addressing the fifth monthly meeting with investors and citizens in the tourism sector in the Kingdom. A large number of owners and investors in the tourism sector from various regions of the Kingdom participated in the virtual session.

Al-Khateeb said that the ministry has trained more than 100,000 young Saudi men and women, of whom 10,400 were trained abroad and the state has spent more than SR400 million in this respect. “Their employment is the responsibility of the ministry and hence everyone should cooperate to achieve this goal,” he said.

Al-Khateeb lauded the strong performance of the hotel industry in the Kingdom and the high occupancy rates it witnessed in the past. He noted that the great support that the tourism sector enjoys from the wise leadership has had a great impact on achieving successes.

The minister highlighted the importance of adhering to the new regulations approved by the ministry to upgrade the sector within the new tourism system. He urged that everyone must quickly correct their status before the deadline set by the ministry that ends on March 25.

Al-Khateeb said that the ministry is looking forward to the cooperation of all, especially the owners of the hospitality sector in Makkah and Madinah which will witness a large turnout during the peak Umrah season in Ramadan, and a high occupancy rate that may reach 100 percent, which requires improving service and commitment to high quality. He stressed that the ministry will be present around the clock through its observers and inspectors to ensure the extent of compliance in providing high-end services to the pilgrims.

Al-Khateeb stressed that the regulations issued by the ministry are clear, and must be adhered to by all workers in the sector without exception. “The ministry will play its role in terms of monitoring and imposing penalties on violators, especially violations of tourist guides. The ministry is keen to have qualified guides working in this field who must have acquired correct, sufficient, accurate and flawless information,” he said.

Al-Khateeb explained that most visitors, whether from within the Kingdom or abroad, want to learn about each region of the Kingdom in terms of history, heritage, culture, customs, ways of trade and living, past and present, which requires licensed and qualified guides.

Al-Khateeb stressed that the ministry is keen on ensuring that the tour guides are licensed, and there will be no complacency or negligence in the matter of their competence. This is because the history, culture and civilization of the Kingdom must reach the world in the best way possible either through tourist guides or the websites and platforms that the ministry is working on continuously, which introduce the Kingdom as the “Spirit of Saudi Arabia” that contains comprehensive information about the Kingdom.

Al-Khateeb emphasized the ministry’s keenness on implementing Saudization in the vital tourism sector. “Saudization is an issue that will not be accepted for discussion or postponement, and that there are a large number of people in the Kingdom who wish to work in this sector,” he said.

The minister called on the participants in the meeting to support the ministry and work with it to achieve common goals, in a way that contributes to improving the sector's performance. He pointed out that the ministry is in the process of establishing a technical support team to facilitate the process of communication between the ministry and workers in the tourism sector.

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