Domestic tourism in Saudi Arabia recorded a 13 percent growth this summer, with Makkah Province emerging as the top destination for domestic travelers. According to a report recently released by the Tourism Information and Research Center (MAS), the statistical arm of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), domestic tourism between June and August touched 5.7 million trips, compared to five million for the same period in 2012.
The most sought after destinations were Makkah, accounting for 39 percent of domestic tourists, followed by Riyadh at 14.8 percent, Eastern Province at 12.63 percent and Madinah Province at 12 percent, the report said. It said domestic tourists spent 4.6 nights on average in their chosen tourist spot during the summer, totaling 26 million nights spent versus 24 million for the same period last year, registering a growth rate of 8 percent. Domestic tourists spent a total of SR6.2 billion this summer, averaging about SR237 per tourist per night.
Thirty-seven percent of travelers cited visiting relatives and friends as the purpose of their travels, followed by religious pursuit in second place at 28.8 percent and vacationing and shopping third at 10.8 percent, the report said. The report said that while hotel room charges varied widely in July, the average monthly cost of a furnished apartment was SR296.