Short leisure breaks to drive 38% increase in visitors to KSA by 2024, says new ATM research

Short leisure breaks to drive 38% increase in visitors to KSA by 2024, says new ATM research

GCC residents to push demand for short leisure breaks in Riyadh & Jeddah
3 million visitors expected by 2024 – ME&A top source market
ATM witnesses 45% growth in Saudi exhibitors between 2018 and 2019

Visitors to Saudi Arabia are predicted to increase 38% from 15.5 million in 2019 to 21.3 million by 2024, according to new research by Colliers International, commissioned by Arabian Travel Market (2020), which takes place at Dubai World Trade Centre from 19—22 April 2020.

This increased demand will be driven by an increasing number of GCC residents wishing to visit the kingdom on short city or mini breaks. It will also be bolstered by business travellers extending work trips to explore the Kingdom’s expanding tourism offerings or attend one of the many sporting or cultural events.

Underpinning this trend, the data from Colliers revealed that over 21.3 million visitors were estimated to visit the country by 2024.

Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market, said: “As Saudi Arabia continues to reduce its reliance on oil, increasing tourism arrivals is becoming instrumental in the country’s economic diversification, and at ATM, we are witnessing this growth firsthand, with the total number of exhibitors from the Kingdom increasing 45% year-on-year between 2018 and 2019.

“With an ambition to increase inbound tourism to 100 million by 2030, Saudi Arabia no longer wants to be viewed as solely a religious destination for the world’s Muslim community, or a corporate destination as one of the richest countries in the world. It has an incredible landscape, with diverse regions and an array of tourism offerings for leisure travellers.”

In line with growing tourism numbers, the global hotel industry has gained a renewed interest in Saudi Arabia with a number of international and regional brands looking to expand their presence across the Kingdom.

According to the latest data from STR, 79,864 hotel rooms are expected to be added to the Kingdom’s existing inventory by 2025, with the majority of rooms (34,270) in Makkah, followed by Jeddah and Riyadh with 14,525 and 11,632 new rooms, respectively.

Hotels in Riyadh witnessed a strong year in 2019, with RevPAR growing 5.2% following a 9.2% increase in occupancy and -3.6% decline in ADR. In Q4, Riyadh’s RevPAR reached 529.33 SAR – the highest it has been since 2014.

“While, this new supply may place additional competitive pressure on hotels’ performance across the country, the projected growth in visitor numbers over the next four years is expected to continue to boost occupancy levels throughout 2020 and well beyond,” said Curtis.

Following the introduction of the new tourist visa, which allows visitors from 49 countries to apply for an e-visa or receive a visa on arrival – the Kingdom has developed a two-phase tourism strategy in line with Vision 2030.

Phase one – 2019-2022 – will focus on attracting first-time visitors to discover Saudi Arabia, in particular, its pristine beaches, deserts, mountains and heritage sites such as Dir’iyah as well as its packed calendar of sporting and cultural events. While, phase two – 2022-onwards – will focus on the full development of giga projects such as NEOM and the Red Sea Project.

Turning to outbound tourism, Saudi Arabia’s outbound tourism market is expected to reach over US$ 43 billion by 2025, according to the latest data from Renub Research. While family holidays currently dominate the market, a rising generation Z population, who are heavily influenced by the image of a destination – whether it be gastronomy, adventure, culture or overall unique experiences, are expected to change this trend.

Looking ahead to ATM 2020, Saudi exhibitors who will highlight what the Kingdom has to offer and the exciting developments in the pipeline, include Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, SAUDIA and flynas, among others, with NEOM making its debut. The Saudi pavilion will occupy almost 2,300sqm of stand space this year, an increase of 20% compared to last year.

Curtis added: “As GCC travel and tourism companies and destinations look to attract a larger share of the KSA market, ATM 2020 will introduce the Saudi Arabia Tourism Summit as part of the show’s new forum & networking series. The session will outline what destinations are doing to attract visitors from this key market while also providing an informal networking event for buyers from Saudi Arabia and exhibitors.”

ATM, considered by industry professionals as a barometer for the Middle East and North Africa tourism sector, welcomed almost 40,000 people to its 2019 event with representation from 150 countries. With over 100 exhibitors making their debut, ATM 2019 showcased the largest ever exhibition from Asia.

Adopting Events for Tourism Growth as the official show theme, ATM 2020 will build on the success of this year’s edition with a host of seminar sessions discussing the impact events have on tourism growth in the region while inspiring the travel and hospitality industry about the next generation of events.

For more news about ATM, please visit:


About Arabian Travel Market (ATM)

Arabian Travel Market (ATM) is the leading, international travel and tourism event in the Middle East – introducing both inbound and outbound tourism professionals to over 2,500 of the most breath-taking destinations, attractions and brands as well as the very latest cutting-edge technologies. Attracting almost 40,000 industry professionals, with representation from 150 countries, ATM prides itself on being the hub of all travel and tourism ideas – providing a platform to discuss insights on the ever-changing industry, share innovations and unlock endless business opportunities over the four days.  New to ATM 2020 will be Travel Forward, a high-end travel and hospitality innovation event, dedicated conference summits and ATM buyer forums for key source markets India, Saudi Arabia and Russia as well as the inaugural Arival Dubai @ ATM – a dedicated in-destination forum.

Next event: Sunday 19 to Wednesday 22 April 2020 – Dubai #IdeasArriveHere

About Arabian Travel Week

Arabian Travel Week is a festival of events taking place within and alongside Arabian Travel Market 2020. The week will include ILTM Arabia, the inaugural Travel Forward, a new travel tech and hospitality innovation event launching this year, and Arival Dubai @ ATM, a dedicated in-destination forum. Additionally, it will host ATM Buyer Forums for key source markets India, Saudi Arabia and Russia and ATM Speed Networking events. Providing a renewed focus for the Middle East’s travel and tourism sector – under one roof over the course of one

Next event: Thursday 16 to Thursday 23 April 2020 – Dubai

About Reed Exhibitions

Reed Exhibitions is the world’s leading events business, enhancing the power of face-to-face through data and digital tools at more than 500 events a year, in more than 43 countries, attracting more than seven million participants. Reed’s events are held in the Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific and Africa and organised by 41 fully staffed offices. Reed Exhibitions serves 43 industry sectors with trade and consumer events. It is part of RELX Group plc, a world-leading provider of information solutions for professional customers across industries.

About Reed Travel Exhibitions

Reed Travel Exhibitions is the world’s leading travel and tourism event’s organiser with a growing portfolio of more than 22 international travel and tourism trade events in Europe, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Our events are market leaders in their sectors, whether it is global and regional leisure travel trade events, or specialist events for meetings, incentives, conference, events (MICE) industry, business travel, LGBTQ+ travel, luxury travel, travel technology as well as golf and spa travel. We have over 40 years’ experience in organising world-leading travel exhibitions.

About World Travel Market

World Travel Market (WTM) portfolio comprises four leading B2B events across four continents, generating more than $7 billion of industry deals. In addition to ATM, the events are:

WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend three-day exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry. Around 50,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit ExCeL London every November, generating over £3.71 billion in travel industry contracts.

Next event: Monday 2 to Wednesday 4 November 2020 – London #IdeasArriveHere

WTM Latin America attracts about 9,000 senior executives and generates about US$374 million of new business deals. Taking place in Sao Paulo, Brazil, this show attracts a global audience to meet and shape the direction of the travel industry. More than 8,000 unique visitors, including buyers and travel agents, attend the event to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry news.

Next event: Tuesday 31 March to Thursday 2 April 2020 – Sao Paulo

WTM Africa launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. Around 5,000 travel industry professionals attend Africa’s leading inbound and outbound travel and tourism market. WTM Africa delivers a proven mix of hosted buyers, media, pre-scheduled appointments, on-site networking, evening functions and invited travel trade visitors.

Next event: Monday 6 to Wednesday 8 April 2020 – Cape Town

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