Travel and tourism: growth potentials and contribution to the GDP of Saudi Arabia

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Saudi Arabia is well known in the world for the holy places Makkah and Madinah. Hajjis and visitors come to perform hajj and Umrah every year in Makkah and Madinah from all around the world. Hajj and Umrah visits play a vital role in the inbound tourism of Saudi Arabia. The tourism revenue of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is increasing absolutely but losing its contribution to the GDP proportionately. So, this paper tries to find out the economic activities of all components of tourism sector which are responsible for the negative trend. It also explains the relationships and variability of tourism revenues and expenditures with GDP and offers suggestions to enhance revenue of tourism sector. This study is based upon secondary data obtained from the website of SAMA (Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority) and General Authority for Statistics of Saudi Arabia. In tourism sector of Saudi Arabia, the increasing trend of expenditures of some economic activities is more than its revenue. The increasing trend of expenditures comparatively its revenues lowering contribution of tourism towards GDP. To improve the level of tourism revenue, government has to provide world class facilities and develop new tourist spots and allow the visitors to visit such places according to the Shariah and Kingdom rules. Government has to focus on developing passenger rail transport and other means of transport to connect all the tourist spots to provide easy conveyance, and on improving and developing tourism sector by helping the government and private organizations that are engaged directly or indirectly in providing services to the domestic and inbound tourists to assure more contribution to GDP.

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    • Table 1. Results of analysis
    • Table 2. Tourism revenue and GDP of Saudi Arabia
    • Table 3. Tourism expenditure and GDP of Saudi Arabia