Saudi Arabia 4th Preferred Destination for Chinese Tourists

Saudi Arabia ranked fourth among the most popular destinations for Chinese tourists in the region this year, after the UAE, Turkey, and Egypt, according to Group data.

Saudi Arabia raised its annual Chinese attraction rate to 5 million from 3 million by 2030, in a broader plan to increase the number of international visits to Saudi Arabia.

The Kingdom says that the current flow of visitors from China to Saudi Arabia consists primarily of businessmen, in addition to pilgrims.

China is the world’s largest tourist market, with over a hundred million Chinese tourists traveling annually. They are among the highest spenders on travel and hospitality.

Gloria Guevara, chief advisor to the Saudi Ministry of Tourism, emphasized China’s importance as a major market. Multiple strategies are being implemented to achieve this goal, as reported by the Chinese Xinhua Agency. Saudi Arabia has taken several initiatives, including a recent agreement, to attract Chinese visitors and become a “major destination.”

“We train tour guides, and we work with hotel groups like Jinjiang and Radisson to customize experiences, so we can get the offers that Chinese tourists expect,” Guevara added.

The CEO of the Saudi Tourism Authority, Fahd Hamid Al-Din, recently visited China multiple times. Chinese sign language were placed at Riyadh Airport after Saudi Airlines launched direct flights to Beijing in August. China Southern Airlines followed suit with its own direct flights in mid-April, enhancing connectivity between the two countries.

Last month, Air China opened a direct flight from Beijing to Riyadh, increasing the total Chinese airlines offering direct flights to three times.

Last March, the Saudi Tourism Authority and signed an agreement to promote travel to Saudi Arabia, focusing on emerging markets like China, India, and 20 European countries.

Initiatives for Chinese Tourists

Saudi Arabia now allows China to obtain an electronic visa and visa upon arrival. They issue transit visas allowing a 96-hour stay before the final destination. In addition, the “Spirit of Saudi Arabia” platform added the Chinese language to its list, and provided payment solutions that suit Chinese tourists.

A report by Oxford Economics predicted that Chinese outbound travel in 2024 will nearly double what it was in 2023 while remaining 22 percent below the pre-pandemic level in 2019.

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