Saudi Arabia: Tourism from GCC countries up 20 percent

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – The number of tourist arrivals to Saudi Arabia from the neighboring GCC countries has registered an upsurge of 20 percent compared to the figures from the same period last year.

According to the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), the Kingdom’s travel and tourism companies which participated in the recently concluded Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2014 in Dubai, estimated a 20 percent rate of increase in GCC tourism trips to Saudi Arabia compared to last year’s statistics.

“They also estimated a 25-30 percent sales increase by Saudi companies in the ATM-2014 emphasizing that direct marketing in an event such as ATM is the best way to market products,” said an SCTA official on Friday.

Commenting on ATM which concluded on Thursday, the official said that the participants were excited as they had an opportunity to participate in the Saudi pavilion in ATM-2014, reach out for new clients and explore the experience of international travel companies in the areas of marketing and management of tourist destinations.

Quoting Ayman Sulaiman Al-Hemaidi, director of operations at Mowasim Travel Company, the official said that the participants had benefited from the experience which would help them in organizing tourism trips in the Kingdom.

“Many contracts were signed between our company and other travel companies and agencies especially from the Emirates and Kuwait,” he said.

Shareef Omar Bawazeer, director of marketing, Dar Al Eman Company, who participated in the ATM 2014 said: “Our participation ensured we had the opportunity to enter into real agreements for Haj and Umrah seasons.”

ATM is the third largest travel fair worldwide behind the London and Berlin travel fairs. It is an important annual event that allows participants to meet tourism companies and organizations from all over the world.