Saudi Arabia plans to open 320,000 new hotel rooms by 2030

(MENAFN- Bangladesh Monitor)

DHAKA: Saudi Arabia plans to build 320,000 new hotel rooms by 2030 as the kingdom steps up efforts to accommodate 150 million domestic and foreign tourists annually.

The massive expansion plan of the hospitality sector is in line with the kingdom’s goal of increasing its travel sector’s economic contribution from six percent to ten percent by 2030, the reports added.

Visitor spending in Saudi Arabia is expected to reach USD 23.2 billion in the first half of 2023, a 132 percent increase over 2022.

International arrivals in the first six months of 2023 were up 142 percent year-on-year to 14.6 million.

While nearby Gulf countries Bahrain, Kuwait and Egypt have emerged as top source markets, Saudi authorities are exploring strategies to attract visitors from further afield, reports quoted Durab Salim, Knight Frank’s hospitality and tourism consultant for the Middle East as saying.

„This includes enhancing cultural and entertainment offerings across the country to complement existing attractions such as the Jetta F1 Grand Prix and numerous 'entertainment seasons,'” Salim said.

Notable projects include theme parks such as Boulevard World and Qiddiya in Riyadh, as well as Saudi Arabia’s successful bid to host the 2030 World Expo, expected to attract 40 million visitors and inject US$94.6 billion into the local economy.

Of the 320,000 new hotel rooms, 67 percent will be upscale or luxury properties, typically requiring one to two staff per room. This suggests that between 232,000 and 387,000 hospitality workers may need to be accommodated as the sector expands rapidly.

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„Providing quality housing for hospitality workers is essential to ensure the success of Saudi tourism aspirations,” reports quoted Faisal Durrani, Knight Frank’s head of research for the Middle East, as saying.

The holy cities of Mecca and Medina are set for a significant hotel boom, with 221,000 new rooms announced, planned or under construction that will cater to religious tourists – expected to reach 30 million annually by 2025 and 50 million by 2030.

Knight Frank reports that construction costs alone will require about $104 billion to create 320,000 new hotel rooms nationwide, with $70 billion dedicated to the religious tourism centers of Mecca and Medina.

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