Saudi Arabia Tourism Report Q3 2014 - New Market Report

From: Fast Market Research, Inc.
Published: Thu Jul 17 2014

BMI maintains a broadly optimistic stance towards the Saudi Arabian tourism sector at the mid-point of 2014. We forecast 8.6% growth in tourist arrivals from all regions in 2014, with tourism receipts set to rise by around 9.1% in US dollar terms.

That said, one near-term threat to inbound tourism flows is the ongoing outbreak of the coronavirus Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which has now reportedly led to 282 deaths from 688 confirmed cases in the kingdom. In May 2014, the UAE's National newspaper cited research from Bank of America Merrill Lynch that stated that Saudi Arabia's estimated USD16bn religious tourism industry could be impacted if the MERS outbreak worsens.

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There are concerns that the large influx of religious tourists into Saudi Arabia in July for Ramadan, and again in October during Hajj, could lead to more infections and the spread of the virus around the world. Although the World Health Organization has not yet designated MERS a global health emergency - which could then potentially lead to restrictions on travel to and from the kingdom, this could change if the virus starts to spread more quickly. BMI will monitor the situation over the coming quarter to see if any changes to our inbound tourism forecasts need to be made.

Aside from this threat, BMI retains a positive long-term outlook on Saudi Arabian tourism, with inbound tourism flows set to be boosted further should the kingdom decide to relax its strict visa entry requirements. In this context, in May 2014, Gulf Business reported on comments from the president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, who said that the country would consider revising its strict visa policies in the next three years, once improvements have been made to improve domestic airport and security system infrastructure. These statements follow the reported suspension of a limited tourist visa programme in March 2014 in order to improve domestic...

The Saudi Arabia Tourism Report has been researched at source and features Business Monitor International (BMI)'s independent assessment and forecasts for tourist expenditure; government expenditure on tourism; passenger arrivals and departures by mode of transport, reason for travel, origin and destination; and the accommodation market.

BMI's Saudi Arabia Tourism Report provides industry professionals and strategists, corporate analysts, associations, government departments and regulatory bodies with independent forecasts and competitive intelligence on the Saudi tourism industry.

Key Benefits

* Benchmark BMI's independent tourism industry forecasts for Saudi Arabia to test other views - a key input for successful budgetary and planning in the Saudi tourism market.

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