Tourism in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia recorded a total of 15 million tourists in 2018, ranking 29th 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 0.46 tourists per resident, Saudi Arabia ranked 96th in the world. In Western Asia, it ranked 11th.

Saudi Arabia generated around 16.98 billion US Dollar in the tourism sector alone. This corresponds to 2.2 percent of its the gross domestic product.



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Most popular destinations in Saudi Arabia

No less than 4 cities in Saudi Arabia are among the top 100 most popular destinations worldwide. In 2018 Mekka reached the 20th place with 9.57 million tourists. According to Euromonitor all tourists with at least one overnight stay were counted.

CityTouristsRank
Mekka9,565,200#20
Medina8,547,200#23
Riad5,267,500#49
Dammam3,498,900#64


Development of the tourism sector in Saudi Arabia from 1995 to 2018

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 18 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 15 years, the country's dependence on tourism has increased noticeably. In the last year of the survey, the revenue now amounts to 16.98 billion USD, accounting for 2.2 percent of the gross national product. Each visitor now spends an average of 1,107 USD for his holiday in Saudi Arabia.

Tourism receipts in Saudi Arabia per year

All data for Saudi Arabia in detail

YearNumber of touristsReceipts% of GNPReceipts per tourist
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 m15.02 bn $2.2 %932 $
201815.33 m16.98 bn $2.2 %1,107 $


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