New GCC visa to improve its position as global destination

Ahmed Al Khateeb, the Saudi Arabian minister of tourism, stated at the eighth gathering of GCC tourism ministers in Doha that the implementation of a single tourist visa for all GCC nations would have far-reaching effects on the industry in Saudi Arabia and the surrounding area.

During the meeting, the ministers discussed ways to enhance collaboration in implementing the unified tourist visa for GCC countries, lauding the historic step taken by the GCC Supreme Council in approving this initiative. Al Khateeb commended this move, emphasizing the commitment of GCC countries to strengthen tourism cooperation and improve their standing as distinguished global tourist destinations.

Addressing the progress in activating the Gulf Tourism Strategy, the minister stressed the importance of continuing efforts to implement the agreed-upon initiatives and programs within the strategy. He also outlined Saudi Arabia's plans to invest $800 billion in various cities and major tourist destinations over the next decade, recognizing tourism as a prominent economic sector contributing to achieving Saudi Vision 2030.

Al Khateeb highlighted the Kingdom's achievements in tourism, noting that during the first three quarters of 2023, visitors to the Kingdom spent SR100 billion ($26.7 billion). Saudi Arabia ranked first among the Group of Twenty (G20) countries and second globally in terms of the growth in the number of international tourists, with a remarkable 56 percent increase in 2023 compared to 2019.

Expanding upon these accomplishments, the Kingdom endeavors to receive 150 million visitors by the year 2030, comprising 70 million international tourists and 80 million domestic tourists. Al Khateeb underscored the fact that these investments will yield favorable outcomes not only for the Kingdom but also for all Gulf Cooperation Council nations.

In light of the forthcoming investments in megatourism projects, he emphasized the significance of collaborative tourism efforts in the Gulf region and urged the implementation of programs, activities, and initiatives that will maximize the advantages of attracting international visitors. The minister reaffirmed unwavering assistance in the pursuit of additional accomplishments and triumphs sought after by the GCC leaders.

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