Gazeta Riad | Tourism: Saudis are more optimistic about the future tourism opportunities in the world

Tourism: Saudis are more optimistic about the future tourism opportunities in the world

The Ministry of Tourism affirmed the desire for the global tourism sector to benefit from the lessons of the global health crisis to achieve the positive changes that advance it.

This came as a result of a new global ministry-supervised study, entitled “Tourism Future Survey”, which focused on travel trends and traveler expectations in 11 countries around the world. The results of the global survey included: 44% of respondents called for more harmonization of health protocols and the use of technology to facilitate travel procedures, 34% of respondents who want the tourism sector to commit to sustainable practices, 29% of respondents prioritizing health and sustainability issues at the expense of travel sector profits, and a demand 33% of respondents reported greater financial protection for travelers, especially after the experiences they experienced during the global health crisis.

Respondents in the survey from China, India and South Korea favor better approximation of safety protocols and better use of technology to facilitate travel experiences.

The study, led by the Ministry of Tourism, showed that Saudis attach more importance to health and profitability at the expense of profits, as Saudi Arabia is experiencing a renaissance of the tourism sector with plans to contribute 10% of gross domestic product and offer a million new job opportunities.

Commissioned by the Ministry of Tourism, YouGov surveyed about 14,000 people across China, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, India, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, South Korea, Spain and Sweden.

Commenting on this issue, His Excellency the Minister of Tourism, Ahmed bin Aqeel Al-Khatib, said: “The global health crisis has greatly affected the global tourism sector and has attracted the attention of everyone, from travelers, tourists, businessmen and governments. , in the ability to do things differently. “

The questionnaire confirms the common desire to build on the lessons learned from this crisis to bring about positive change, in order to ensure that tourism focuses in the future on health, sustainability and better use of technology.

He noted the shift in travel trends two years after the Covid-19 crisis and the closures that led to travel restrictions, prompting 58% of Saudis to turn to domestic travel options.

Economic turmoil and rising prices have also reduced travel over the next six months, and 42% of global respondents are more likely to travel abroad for vacation, compared with 39% who are not or are unlikely to do so.

The greatest impact is seen in business travel, as only 18% of participants, to varying degrees, in all markets are likely to travel abroad for business.

On the other hand, the Saudis were more optimistic about the prospect of free travel or business abroad in the next six months, reflecting the strong performance of the Saudi economy.

The survey on the future of tourism was published ahead of the 116th meeting of the Executive Council of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, which will be held in Jeddah next week, organized by the Saudi Ministry of Tourism.

Several topics will be included in the agenda of the forthcoming meeting, including promoting the tourism sector and adapting to future requirements to achieve greater sustainability and flexibility.

It is worth noting that the travel and tourism sector before the global health crisis offered 1 in every 4 new job opportunities globally, equivalent to 10.3% of all jobs (333 million) and 10.3% of global GDP (9.6 trillion US dollars). ), This includes the direct and indirect effects of the sector and the opportunities it stimulates in other sectors.

Al-Khatib added, “Saudi Arabia is a completely new tourist destination, and we opened our doors to international tourism just before the start of the health crisis, so we are ready and able to think and act in new ways and different.”

He added: We have also managed to create a new model for tourism that is more flexible and sustainable, through coordination between vision, leadership and resources, and we look forward to sharing our vision and working with our international partners; To build a brighter future for tourism.

Last week, the World Economic Forum published the Travel and Tourism Development Index, which showed the Kingdom’s progress in 33rd place in the world. The Independent Index ranks economic performance in 117 countries, according to 17 factors and policies related to sustainability, flexibility. and the development of the travel and tourism sector.

The Kingdom jumped 10 places immediately in 2021 compared to 2019, which is the second biggest advance in the rankings; As a result of improvements in almost all the factors that make up the index. This report is the first of its kind since the Kingdom opened its borders to international tourism in September 2019.

It is worth noting that the Executive Council of the World Tourism Organization convenes in the Kingdom of Jeddah on 7 and 8 June.

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