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Red Sea Project and Amaala

Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030: Transforming into a Global Tourism Powerhouse (2024)

The modern history of Saudi Arabia, with its vast oil wealth and status as the cradle of Islam, has long made it a political and economic heavyweight. Yet, as global energy dynamics shift and as the Kingdom looks to diversify its economy, there’s a renewed push to put Saudi Arabia on the map for another reason: tourism. At the heart of this initiative is “Vision 2030,” a comprehensive blueprint for the country’s future. Let’s delve into how this vision aims to reshape Saudi Arabia into a prime global tourist destination.

1. Understanding Vision 2030: An Overview

Launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2016, Vision 2030 is Saudi Arabia’s ambitious plan to reduce the country’s dependence on oil by diversifying its economy. With goals spanning various sectors, from entertainment to technology, tourism occupies a central place. The idea is to shift perceptions, open doors, and transform the country’s largely untapped tourism potential into a major revenue stream.

2. Rich Historical and Cultural Sites

Saudi Arabia is home to five UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the historic Diriyah, the archaeological site of Al-Hijr (Madâin Sâlih), and the rock art of the Al-Hajar Mountains. Through Vision 2030, there is a clear strategy to develop and promote these sites, providing visitors a glimpse into the rich tapestry of Arabia’s history and civilization.

3. Red Sea Project and Amaala: Luxurious Beach Resorts

The Red Sea coastline, with its untouched beaches and coral reefs, is set to be transformed into a luxury tourist destination. The Red Sea Project aims to create a coastal resort across a lagoon of 90 islands. Similarly, Amaala, dubbed the “Riviera of the Middle East,” promises an ultra-luxurious experience, focusing on wellness, health, and rejuvenation.

4. Entertainment Galore: From Cinemas to Concerts

The lifting of a 35-year cinema ban in 2018 marked a significant shift. The establishment of the General Entertainment Authority, which has since brought international artists for concerts and organized events like the Riyadh Season festival, underscores Saudi’s intent to be a hub for entertainment.

5. Adventurous Desert Safaris and Sporting Events

The vast deserts of Saudi Arabia, with their dunes and historical sites, offer great potential for desert safaris, treks, and camping experiences. Moreover, Saudi has shown a keen interest in hosting international sporting events, like the Dakar Rally and the Saudi Cup horse race, presenting a mix of adventure and sports tourism.

6. Religious Tourism: Expansion of Hajj and Umrah

Makkah and Madinah, the two holiest cities in Islam, attract millions of Muslims every year. Vision 2030 aims to provide better facilities, increase the quota for pilgrims, and enhance the overall experience for the visitors performing Hajj and Umrah.

7. Easing Travel: New Tourist Visas and Improved Infrastructure

To bolster international tourist influx, Saudi Arabia introduced a new tourist visa in 2019, allowing travelers from 49 countries to explore the Kingdom. Infrastructure development, including new airports, high-speed railways, and roads, will facilitate easier movement and access to tourist sites.

8. Sustainable Tourism: Preserving Natural Beauty

An integral part of the vision is to develop tourism sustainably. Plans include renewable energy-powered resorts, conservation of marine life, and initiatives to protect and regenerate native flora and fauna.


Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 represents a massive leap towards integrating the nation into the global tourism fabric. By melding its rich heritage with modern attractions and infrastructural developments, Saudi Arabia is on a path to not just diversify its economy, but to share its treasures, traditions, and transformative ambitions with the world. Whether you’re an avid historian, a luxury seeker, or an adventure enthusiast, the evolving landscape of Saudi Arabia promises something for everyone.

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