The 10 Best Places to Visit in Saudi Arabia

Freedom Writers

Saudi Arabia Opens Tourism as Part of Vision 2030 - Here's What Visitors Can Expect

tourism in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is undergoing a remarkable transformation under the Vision 2030 plan spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. A key pillar of Vision 2030 is growing Saudi Arabia's tourism industry by showcasing the nation's cultural riches, natural beauty, and entertainment options.

As Saudi Arabia opens its doors to visitors as never before, travelers around the world are curious: What can I expect when visiting this long-closed kingdom? 

This article provides an overview of the tourism opportunities in Saudi Arabia today and what's on the horizon. Let's explore why Saudi Arabia is one of the most exciting new global destinations.

1. Overview of Vision 2030 and its Impact on Tourism

Launched in 2016, Vision 2030 aims to diversify Saudi Arabia's economy beyond oil and energize society. A vibrant tourism industry has been identified as crucial for economic growth, job creation, and sharing Saudi culture with the world.

Specific goals include increasing foreign and domestic visitor numbers severalfold by 2030. The government is investing billions in tourism infrastructure and marketing. New tourist e-visas, relaxed rules, and expanded entertainment options make visiting easier than ever before.

2. Cultural and Historical Attractions

Saudi Arabia dazzles visitors with a treasure trove of cultural sites spanning thousands of years of history. Ancient trading kingdoms left ruins and artifacts, offering glimpses of past civilizations. Unique architectural styles blending Islamic, Persian, and Mediterranean influences produce mosques and forts of exquisite beauty.

Highlights include Madain Saleh's magnificent 2000-year-old Nabatean tombs, the mudbrick architecture of Diriyah, showcasing the first Saudi state, and Jeddah's historic multicultural district. Saudi museums like the National Museum in Riyadh bring ancient artifacts together under one roof.

By preserving its past while connecting it to the present, Saudi Arabia promises profound cultural experiences. Sites like Al-Ula's tombs and petroglyphs earn Saudi Arabia the nickname "The Land of Two Eves."

3. Natural Beauty and Outdoor Activities

Beyond its cultural gems, Saudi Arabia's extraordinary natural landscapes create endless opportunities for outdoor adventures. The country spans vast deserts, verdant mountains, breathtaking coastlines, and geological wonders.

In Rijal Almaa, visitors can scale the picturesque sandstone cliffs and hike among ancient rock art. Scuba divers will discover pristine coral reefs teeming with exotic marine life in the Red Sea. Adrenaline junkies can surf the massive dunes of the Empty Quarter by ATV.

New luxury resorts and camps in untouched areas allow comfort amidst unspoiled wilderness. Saudi Arabia's wealth of biodiversity, ecosystems, and natural terrain enthralls nature lovers from across the globe.

Ecotourism initiatives aim to promote sustainability and wildlife conservation as tourism expands. With mindful development, Saudi Arabia's outdoors can remain open for exploration for generations to come.

5. Entertainment and Events

Alongside its cultural and natural appeal, Saudi Arabia offers an ever-expanding entertainment scene. Musical concerts, sporting events, food festivals, and theatrical performances entertain millions of people annually.

Concerts hosted Saudi superstars like Mohammed Abdu as well as global pop icons from Enrique Iglesias to Usher and David Guetta. Top international golfers teed off in the Saudi International Tournament. Colorful hot air balloons filled the skies during the Global Balloon Festival.

Massive entertainment festivals like Riyadh Season draw tens of millions to pavilions, amusement parks, and live shows around the capital. Planned leisure developments like the 100+ square mile Qiddiya outside Riyadh will add theme parks, race tracks, and outdoor arenas.

With packed cultural calendars and affordable tickets, Saudi Arabia's entertainment boom entices short city breaks. The excitement only intensifies as Saudi Arabia opens its doors wider to the world.

6. The Road Ahead

Saudi Arabia's swift strides in tourism readiness have impressed, but work remains to meet ambitious 2030 goals. Looking ahead, priorities include:

  • Continuing to ease visa access and entry requirements as COVID-19 recedes.
  • Training programs to develop Saudi talent to staff the tourism industry.
  • Ongoing marketing and outreach to raise international awareness. Further domestic reforms to open entertainment and events for all.
  • Careful tourism planning that balances economic benefits with cultural and environmental sustainability.
  • Expanding accommodation options across different budgets and styles.

Saudi Arabia is poised to become a major tourist destination in the coming decade. The country has a wealth of natural and cultural attractions, and the government is making significant investments in the tourism sector.

With diligent nurturing, Saudi Arabia's tourism sector can flourish exponentially in the coming decade. The world is welcome to experience Saudi hospitality on this exciting new frontier.

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