Saudi Arabia has developed a general policy for the promotion of national tourism and the betterment of top traveling sites. Data of Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency ( SAMA ) indicate that tourism GDP has increased by 1.0 percent to SR 59 billion in 2011, even though the sector's share decreased during the year relative to GDP.
According to the latest annual report from SAMA , the tourism sector created job opportunities for a large number of job seekers last year.
The General Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (GCTA) estimated that the number of job opportunities created by tourism industry during 2011 stood at more than 600,000.
With respect to inbound tourism trips to Saudi Arabia, expenditure on accommodation came first with around SR 16.9 billion (or 37.2 percent of the total) in 2011, compared to SR 9.5 billion in 2010.
GCTA also expects the total number of tourism trips in the Kingdom to reach 83 million by 2020, of which 62.4 million will be domestic and 20.6 million inbound trips, mainly from the GCC and neighboring Arab countries.
The commission expects tourism expenditure in Saudi Arabia to grow to SR 227.3 billion by 2020.
Engr. Ahmad Al Issa, director General of licensing in GCTA, told Asharq Al-Awsat that developing the accommodation sector is part of a drive to create tourism incentives.
He added that "GCTA will spare no effort in promoting this sector by bringing in competent investors in this industry, since whenever there is an increase in demand, there will be an increase in supply."