Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Expo 2030 ‘will turbo charge Saudi tourism sector’

The Expo 2030, to be held in Riyadh, will serve as a catalyst for growth and its impact on Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector will be felt immediately, according to Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) CEO.

In a landmark announcement made at the 173rd General Assembly of the Bureau International des Expositions in Paris on Tuesday, Saudi Arabia’s capital city Riyadh was named as the host city for Expo 2030.

Themed ‘The Era of Change: Together for a Foresighted Tomorrow,’ Expo 2030 will align perfectly with the fulfillment of Saudi’s Vision 2030 – a historic blueprint to fundamentally transform the Kingdom, diversify the economy, and improve the lives of the country’s citizens.

Saudi is one of the fastest-growing tourist destinations, and in the first quarter of 2023, it had the second-highest number of international arrivals in the world – a growth of 64% compared to the same period in 2019.

Expo 2030 is expected to turbocharge the sector’s steep upward trajectory, giving the kingdom a platform to share its unique and diverse wonders with the world while driving forward job creation, sector investment, and trade partnerships, said STA.

The announcement is also set to significantly boost the Saudi economy and drive the Vision 2030 ambition of making tourism the second largest component of the country’s GDP.

Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO and Member of the Board of Saudi Tourism, stated: “The announcement marks an extraordinary chapter for Saudi Arabi, with our capital city, Riyadh, honored by the world as the chosen host of Expo 2030. I believe that Expo 2030 will serve as a catalyst for growth and its impact on Saudi’s tourism sector will be felt immediately. As we prepare for this iconic global showpiece, we would like to call on our trade partners to take advantage of the historic opportunities on offer, to help us drive forward sustainable growth and development within the Kingdom’s tourism sector.”

Spotlighting Saudi’s robust tourism infrastructure expansion, Hamidaddin added: “Today, Saudi has over 400,000 hotel rooms which will be expanded to 854,000 new rooms by 2030. Additionally, the planned development of the King Salman International Airport in Riyadh will help position the city as a world-class hub for travel and commerce, targeting an ambitious capacity of 120 million passengers within the next seven years. These developments will enhance accessibility into Riyadh and the rest of the country, ensuring a simple and seamless travel experience for all Expo attendees.”

Saudi Arabia is preparing to host the upcoming FIFA Club World Cup, which further enhances the country’s already impressive sporting and cultural calendar. Among these events include the Jeddah Corniche Formula 1 circuit, and the recent blockbuster boxing match featuring Tyson Fury, the WBC heavyweight champion, and former UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou. These events are cementing Saudi’s position as a global cultural and sporting events hub, with Riyadh, the capital city, standing as the iconic backdrop for the prestigious Expo 2030.

According to internal projections, Expo 2030 is projected to welcome close to 40 million site visits and over 1 billion pavilion digital visits to the historic metaverse pavilion. Moreover, Expo 2030 will span over 6 million sq m and will feature 246 unique event participants.

Riyadh’s announcement as the host city of Expo 2030 follows the success of the Expo 2020 in Dubai, which welcomed close to 24 million site visitors. Excitement is also growing for Saudi Arabia’s planned presence at Expo 2025, scheduled to be held in the picturesque city of Osaka, Japan. 

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