Saudi Arabia
Riyadh [Unsplash]

Saudi Arabia to launch tourism portal to rival major OTAs

KSA: Saudi Arabia is set to launch its own property rental portal to take on major global marketplaces such as Airbnb, after a new tourism law was approved in the Kingdom this week.

In order to rent out properties through the portal, citizens would be required to obtain a permit and provide proof of ownership, as Saudi Arabia prepares to open up for more foreign tourism and investment opportunities.

In the lead up to Saudi Vision 2030, The National Tourism Strategy of Saudi Arabia is aiming to attract 100 million tourists within the next seven years, making it one of the top five global tourism destinations in the world.

Minister of tourism, Ahmed Al Khateeb, who approved the new law, revealed that the Kingdom has already opened up foreign investment opportunities worth $6 trillion for its tourism sector.

On top of that, Saudi leaders want to reduce the national dependence on oil to spur its economy and instead focus on growing the private sector’s contribution to its gross domestic product [GDP] to 65 per cent by 2030. In that time, it is anticipated that one million jobs would be created for young people to enter the tourism sector, accounting for ten per cent of the country’s GDP.

According to The National, the prospective portal would be an official tourism service and properties listed would have to comply with regulations set by the ministry, such as publishing prices in full, inclusive of all taxes.

Security, health and safety measures, including ambulance and evacuation procedures would also be prioritised to protect tourists’ privacy.

Saudi Arabia is already seeing a surge in tourism since the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, according to the latest figures released by the Ministry of Investment. According to the figures, tourism numbers in the Kingdom surged by 575 per cent in 2022 compared to the previous year, while domestic tourism numbers went up by 42.3 per cent in that time.

In recent years, Jeddah-based property management company Mabaat and rental marketplace Gathern have emerged from stealth to welcome more foreign tourists to the region and accelerate their domestic expansion.

Be in the know.

Subscribe to our newsletter »