Saudi Arabia’s Visa-Free Access to 59 Countries Fuels Outbound Travel Boom

Saudi Arabia’s outbound travel is experiencing a surge as citizens enjoy visa-free access to an impressive 59 countries and territories worldwide. This enhanced global connectivity has significantly boosted tourism and cultural exchange, benefiting both Saudis and the destinations they visit.

The Saudi Arabian passport now ranks 46th most powerful globally, allowing its holders to travel widely and effortlessly. Additionally, Saudis can seamlessly travel within the GCC region using only their national ID.

In 2022, Saudi Arabia’s outbound tourism reached new heights with 16.88 million tourists venturing across the globe, resulting in a substantial economic impact. According to the Saudi Ministry of Tourism, these tourists collectively spent 46.82 billion SAR, showcasing the significant purchasing power of Saudi travelers.

The impact of Saudi outbound tourism extends beyond leisure travel. A significant number of Saudis also travel for meetings, conferences, and exhibitions, contributing to the global MICE industry. This multifaceted approach to travel not only boosts direct tourism revenues but also facilitates deeper cultural and professional interactions.

As Saudi travelers engage with different communities and markets, they foster broader economic connections and cultural exchanges, enhancing Saudi Arabia’s global influence and strengthening international ties. This dynamic contribution of Saudi outbound tourism acts as a robust engine for the global tourism sector, showcasing the kingdom’s growing role in shaping worldwide travel trends.

Specific destinations are experiencing the positive impact of Saudi outbound travel. Turkey, Egypt, Kazakhstan, and Georgia have all seen an increase in tourist arrivals from Saudi Arabia.

Turkey’s rich historical heritage, including the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, and the fairytale landscapes of Cappadocia continue to attract Saudi visitors. Egypt’s majestic Pyramids of Giza, the historical treasures in the Valley of the Kings, and the vibrant marine life of the Red Sea are key attractions for Saudi tourists.

Kazakhstan’s travel and tourism market is poised for significant growth, with projected revenues reaching US$1,068.00 million by 2024. Noteworthy destinations in Kazakhstan include the futuristic cityscape of Nur-Sultan, the pristine natural beauty of the Charyn Canyon, and the cultural richness of Almaty.

Georgia experienced a notable increase in tourism in 2023, with 7.1 million international non-resident travelers marking a 30.3 percent rise from the previous year. Tourists are drawn to Tbilisi for its charming old town, the ancient rock-hewn city of Uplistsikhe, and the picturesque coastal town of Batumi.

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