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Saudi Arabia sees record 142% surge in inbound with 14.6mn tourists during first half of 2023

The Saudi Ministry of Tourism has released the preliminary data for the first half of 2023 statistics, building upon achievements of 2022’s growth in the sector, in addition to informing local and international investors on the sector’s latest updates.

For first half of 2023, with total number of tourists (overnight visitors for all purposes) reaching (53.6 million), including (39.0 million) domestic tourists and (14.6 million) inbound tourists. The total tourism spending reached (SAR150 billion), of which (SAR 63.1 billion) came from domestic tourism and (SAR 86.9 billion) from Inbound tourism, that indicates a new historical record for Saudi tourism.

This is a result of the Ministry of Tourism and its partners’ efforts in attracting visitors by enhancing the tourism products and quality of services, in addition to improving visa structures.

Inbound tourism achieved historical record numbers in the first half of 2023, recording an increase of (142%) in number of tourists and (132%) in total tourism spending vs. the first half of 2022. With the continuous development of the tourism sector, there has been an increase in the number of tourists for all purposes with leisure tourists showing the highest growth (347%) vs. the first half of 2022.

Domestic tourism in the first half of 2023 recorded a growth of (16%) in tourism spending, due to the average length of stay increasing from (4.6) nights in the first half of 2022 to (6.3) nights in the first half of 2023. Leisure was the top purpose in number of visitors, achieving an increase of (18%) compared to the first half 2022, with (16.6M) tourists accounting for (43%) of all domestic tourists’ trips.

Outbound tourism in the first half of 2023 recorded an increase in number of tourists by (37%), with spending also increasing by (74%) compared the first half of 2022. The increase is attributed to the lifting global of travel restrictions. In addition to having the start of the summer season and school break in June. Outbound Non-Saudis residents represented (45%) of all outbound tourists in the first half of 2023, increasing by (24%) compared to the first half of 2022, while their spending accounted for (66%) of all outbound spending. Visiting friends and relatives was the top purpose of visits representing (67%) of all non-Saudi outbound tourist trips, with the average length of stay increasing from (19.3) nights in the first half of 2022 to (45.5) nights in the first half of 2023 resulting in an increase of (109%) for non-Saudi outbound spend for all purposes.

Saudi outbound tourists recorded an increase of (49%) mostly to neighbouring countries, whereas the outbound spending increased by (32%) compared to the first half of 2022. Notably, the average spend per night for Saudis has decreased from (599 SAR) in the first half of 2022, to (332 SAR) in the first half of 2023.

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