Between now and 2019, Saudi Arabia will experience an increase in tourist visitors, a recently released market study by BMI Research predicted.
"Saudi Arabia Tourism Q3 Report 2015" said that there will be more religious visitors as well as business travelers, a boon since
tourism is growing increasingly crucial to the economy as the country seeks to halt its over-reliance on oil exports.
Experts estimate that more than 1.7 million new jobs could be created if the country further develops its tourism industry. This could help to increase employment levels, which is crucial for workers in less-educated socioeconomic groups.
The government is assisting the tourism industry by supporting transport infrastructure investment as well as foreign hotel group development, but that financial assistance is at risk due to regional insecurity and low oil prices, the authors of the report warn.
Current transport infrastructure improvements include major airport developments in Jeddah and Riyadh, which the report predicts will help boost arrival figures to 19.5 million passengers by 2019.
Although the focus of hotel group development has mostly centered on high-end, luxury hotels, particularly in Jeddah, Mecca and Riyadh, the report recommends that the country invest in more affordable hotels to appeal to tourists who visit during Hajj when hotel prices usually increase.