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The Chinese Tourism Boom: Saudi Arabia’s Ambitious Goals

The Chinese Tourism Boom: Saudi Arabia’s Ambitious Goals

The Key Ideas

• Saudi Arabia targets Chinese tourists

• Major agreements with Group

• Economic and cultural benefits from tourism growth

• Saudi’s tourism sector to outpace UAE by 2030

Forging New Paths in Global Tourism

In a bold move to capture a significant share of the global tourism market, Saudi Arabia has set its sights on attracting Chinese tourists through strategic agreements with Chinese travel platforms and tech giants. These efforts are part of the kingdom’s ambitious plans to redefine its tourism sector and diversify its economy away from oil dependence. The partnerships with companies like Group, alongside collaborations with Huawei, Alibaba, and WeChat, mark a significant pivot towards leveraging technology and international cooperation to fuel tourism growth.

Strategic Agreements to Boost Inbound Travel

The Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) has entered into what has been described as one of its largest-ever global partnerships by signing a comprehensive agreement with Group. This collaboration is set to significantly boost the number of tourists visiting Saudi Arabia, with a focus on markets such as China, India, and 20 European countries. The partnership aims to enhance the travel experience through the development of AI travel products and innovative payment solutions, showcasing Saudi’s commitment to adopting cutting-edge technology in its tourism sector.

Aiming High with Chinese Tourists

The emphasis on the Chinese market is no coincidence. The STA has recognized the immense potential of Chinese tourists, whose outbound travel has been on a continuous rise. In a record-breaking year, Saudi Arabia welcomed over 140,000 Chinese travelers, a figure that notably surpassed its 2030 tourism goal. By signing agreements with travel giants like, Ctrip, and Skyscanner, and establishing partnerships with tech behemoths such as Huawei, Alibaba, and WeChat, Saudi aims to drive awareness and bookings, tapping into the lucrative Chinese travel market.

Economic and Cultural Windfalls

The influx of Chinese tourists is expected to bring substantial economic benefits and foster cultural exchanges between Saudi Arabia and China. These developments are part of a broader strategy to not only boost the kingdom’s tourism revenues but also to introduce the rich Saudi culture and heritage to a global audience. The strategic focus on the Chinese market reflects a wider vision to make Saudi Arabia a key player in the international tourism industry, capitalizing on its unique attractions and historical significance.

Outpacing Regional Competitors

According to a 2023 report by PwC, Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector is projected to grow by an impressive 8.3% annually until 2030, potentially outpacing the growth of traditional tourism powerhouses in the Middle East, such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This forecast underscores the kingdom’s ambitious efforts to transform its tourism sector and highlights the strategic importance of the Chinese market in achieving these goals. With these initiatives, Saudi Arabia is not just aiming to diversify its economy but also to redefine the Middle Eastern tourism landscape.


Saudi Arabia’s aggressive pursuit of the Chinese tourist market through strategic partnerships and technological innovation marks a significant shift in the kingdom’s tourism strategy. By aligning with major Chinese travel and tech companies, Saudi is positioning itself as a forward-thinking, welcoming destination for international travelers, especially the Chinese. These efforts, coupled with the projected growth in its tourism sector, signal Saudi Arabia’s intent to become a major player on the global tourism stage, promising economic and cultural benefits for both the kingdom and its visitors.

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