Tourism in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia recorded a total of 16 million tourists in 2017, ranking 21st in the world in absolute terms.

Without including the size of a country, such a ranking list may not be very meaningful. By putting the tourist numbers in relation to the population of Saudi Arabia, the result is much more comparable picture: With 0.49 tourists per resident, Saudi Arabia ranked 90th in the world. In Western Asia, it ranked 8th.

Saudi Arabia generated around 14.85 billion US Dollar in the tourism sector alone. This corresponds to 2.2 percent of its the gross domestic product.

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Development of the tourism sector in Saudi Arabia from 1995 to 2017

The following chart shows the number of tourist arrivals registered in Saudi Arabia each year. Anyone who spends at least one night in the country but does not live there for more than 12 months is considered a tourist. Insofar as the survey included the purpose of the trip, business trips and other non-tourism travel purposes have already been excluded. The number of people passing through within the same day, and e.g. crew members of ships or flights are also not considered as tourists in most countries. If the same person travels in and out more than once within the same year, each visit counts again.

Data in the chart are given in millions of tourists. The red line represents the average of all countries in Western Asia.

Tourists per year in Saudi Arabia

Revenues in tourism

In 2003, tourism revenues amounted to 3.42 billion USD, or about 1.6 percent of the gross national product. This corresponded to about 7.33 million tourists at that time and roughly 466 USD per person. Within 14 years, the country's dependence on tourism has increased noticeably. In the last year of the survey, the revenue now amounts to 14.85 billion USD, accounting for 2.2 percent of the gross national product. Each visitor now spends an average of 922 USD for his holiday in Saudi Arabia.

Annual receipts as percentage of the gross national product:
Tourism receipts in Saudi Arabia per year

All data for Saudi Arabia in detail

YearNumber of touristsReceipts% of GNPExpences per person
19953.33 m
20006.59 m
20016.73 m
20027.51 m
20037.33 m3.42 bn $1.6 %466 $
20048.60 m6.49 bn $2.5 %754 $
20058.04 m4.63 bn $1.4 %576 $
20068.62 m4.77 bn $1.3 %553 $
200711.53 m6.91 bn $1.7 %599 $
200814.76 m6.78 bn $1.3 %459 $
200910.90 m6.74 bn $1.6 %619 $
201010.85 m7.54 bn $1.4 %695 $
201114.18 m9.32 bn $1.4 %657 $
201216.33 m8.40 bn $1.1 %514 $
201315.77 m8.69 bn $1.2 %551 $
201418.26 m9.26 bn $1.2 %507 $
201517.99 m11.18 bn $1.7 %621 $
201618.04 m13.44 bn $2.1 %745 $
201716.11 m14.85 bn $2.2 %922 $

All data correspond to the information of the World Tourism Organization.