A new white paper by destination consultants, Colliers International, concludes that Saudi Arabia is poised for an unprecedented boom in its leisure industry.

The key opportunities lie in providing ‘family fun’ experiences in safe, controlled and culturally appropriate environments.

These include RDE, theme parks, zoos and safari parks, adventure attractions (indoor and outdoor), festivals and touring exhibitions.

Saudi Arabia has already committed to creating ‘attractions of the highest international standards’ as part of its ‘Vision 2030’ strategy for growth and development.

The country’s cultural and entertainment offerings are currently out of step with its increasingly affluent population. Average monthly expenditure of a Saudi household in 2013 was SAR 15,367, a 16% increase on 2007.

Domestic tourism is forecast to grow to 66 million trips per annum by 2020 thanks in part to a rapidly growing population and a boom in religious tourism.

International tourism is forecast to grow to over 32m trips per annum by 2026.

In preparation, the country is pumping investment into its infrastructure. The new Jeddha airport and the Haramain High Speed Rail line are both slated to open in 2018.

Other commitments include:

  • Significant private sector investment in hotels and resorts
  • Significant Government investment in parks, attractions, festivals and other recreational activities
  • Government investment of over USD 13 million/year on the preservation of heritage sites
  • Introduction of the ‘Umrah Plus’ Visa which allows Pilgrims to travel around the KSA for up to 30 days
  • Potential introduction of a single Schengen-style visa for all GCC countries
  • Tourism skills training for over 30,000 Saudi citizens within the ‘Takamul’ programme
  • Gradual opening to new forms of leisure, entertainment and cultural activities. An example is the successful ILuminate Show in Riyadh in summer 2016.

The report suggests that large scale projects such as KidZania in Jeddah and Snow City in Riyadh will increasingly encourage Saudis to spent more of their disposable income at home.

Download the whitepaper here.

DEAL Live by blooloop 2017

Seán Young, Head of Destination Consulting at Colliers International will be speaking at DEAL Live by blooloop.  Book your ticket now:

DEAL Live by blooloop 2017