The number of Saudi nationals travelling abroad during the summer stands at 12 million and their collective spending could be in the region of SR40 billion ($10.66 billion), according to an industry expert.
Dubai is the favourite destination for Saudi tourists during the summer and Cairo could have claimed the second spot but for the political situation in Egypt, tourism investor Abdulmuhsin Al-Hukair was quoted as saying in Arab News.
“All the neighbouring countries in the Gulf region normally prepare themselves every year to receive Saudi tourists, except the Kingdom, which remains an exporter of tourists and not an importer,” he highlighted.
"It is not a matter of cost since the Kingdom is considered the least expensive country in the region when it comes to tourism," he said.
"The problem is that official bodies have neither taken the issue seriously nor are they treating tourism on equal footing with other sectors such as industry or agriculture."
The report quoted Mihaidib Al-Mihaidib, director general of Sarh Tourism and Travel Company, as saying that Saudi tourists favour Dubai followed by European and US destinations, as well as Malaysia.
A Saudi tourist normally spends three times that his European counterpart would in European countries, where spending ranges between $10,000 and $100,000, he added.
According to earlier estimates around 1.6 million Saudi tourists were likely to visit the UAE by the end of summer, accounting for 80 per cent of the total number of Gulf tourists to that country, the report said.
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