Domestic tourism in Saudi Arabia thriving, according to travel trends report

Saudi travelers are showing a strong appetite for the diverse range of tourism offerings within the Kingdom, leading to impressive gains for the domestic tourism sector in 2023, according to a new trends report.

Almosafer, Saudi Arabia’s leading travel company, released its latest trends report during the second edition of the three-day Saudi Tourism Forum which began on Monday in the capital Riyadh.

The report, which draws on data insights collated from across the company’s consumer platforms during 2023, has found that over 40 percent of the total booking share comes from the domestic sector, with 83 percent of local travelers showing a preference for luxury accommodation options.

Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Vision 2030 aims to attract 150 million tourists annually by the start of the next decade, with half of its tourism demand to come from domestic travel.

With the average length of stay being two nights, the overall number of room nights for hotels have seen a 22 percent year-on-year growth in 2023 compared to 2022.

The new trends report further highlighted that among the top growing destinations in the Kingdom, AlUla is the preferred luxury option, Jazan and Tabuk are winter favorites and Abha is a popular destination for families to spend the summer break.

Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Mecca, and Medina remain the most popular destinations in terms of room nights sold.

The booking behavior of Saudi travelers across Almosafer’s consumer travel businesses also reveals that the average order value has increased by 10.8 percent in 2023, even though close to 75 percent of consumers are choosing low-cost carriers to reach their destinations within the Kingdom. This indicates that domestic travelers are spending more on in-destination expenses including accommodation, and activities, whilst saving on their journeys.

As the alternative accommodation segment grows in Saudi Arabia, the overall share of bookings for short-term rental serviced apartments witnessed a YoY rise of 48 percent, compared to 2022.

The latest data from Almosafer showing the growth of domestic tourism in the the Kingdom reflects Saudi Arabia’s “rise as an an attractive destination” for local travelers, according to the company’s CEO Muzzammil Ahussain.

“As Vision 2030 drives further growth in this sector, Almosafer will continue to expand our reach and optimize our offerings for domestic tourists, as we shape the future of travel experiences within the Kingdom,” he added.

Growing demand for activities, recreational pursuits

Saudi Arabia’s investments to boost the Kingdom’s tourism infrastructure have resulted in a steady rise of domestic tourists keen on exploring the many attractions in the Kingdom. Data from Almosafer’s platforms have highlighted a growing demand for activities and recreational pursuits among Saudi residents, primarily in the capital city of Riyadh and Jeddah, the Kingdom’s second largest city.

Apart from events and festivals, access to popular attractions such as aquariums and beaches, personalized and experiential activities such as diving, snorkeling, and other on ground adventure and nature-based activities are in great demand among domestic travelers.

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