The milestone was reached on the back of strong efforts to develop the country’s tourism sector, with UNWTO working closely with the Saudi Ministry of Tourism around a number of key initiatives. In 2021, UNWTO opened its Regional office for the Middle East in Riyadh, establishing it as a global hub for tourism innovation, education and tourism for rural development.
The announcement of the Kingdom’s 100 millionth tourist – including both international and domestic arrivals – also reflects the Ministry’s firm commitment to data gathering and statistics, both also priorities of UNWTO. As a result, the Saudi system for tourism statics is now globally recognized as one of the most comprehensive and timely in the world and a major tool in the decision-making process.
In recognition of Saudi Arabia’s efforts in this field, the Kingdom has been representing the Middle East in the UNWTO Committee on Statistics for four consecutive sessions. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia was the only representative of the Middle East in in developing the Statistical Framework for Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism (SF-MST) led by the Expert Group on MST.