The famous Elephant rock in the Ula desert near Al Ula. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Saudi Arabia will introduce a new visa scheme for GCC residents soon to boost tourism, media reports said.

According to the Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al Khateeb, the Kingdom is planning to invest up to $200 billion and welcome 100 million visitors by 2030. Vision 2030 aims to increase the tourism sector’s contribution to gross domestic product to 10 per cent.

“The job sector in the Kingdom grew by 15 per cent to 820,000 jobs between 2019 and now,” he added. “We aim to spend more than $200 billion by 2030.”

In an interview with CNBC Arabic, Al Khateeb said that 64 million trips were made by residents in the Kingdom during 2021, while the number of visitors from abroad reached 5 million last year.

Al Khateeb stressed that the tourist visas launched by the Kingdom in 2019 still exists and there are no specific restrictions for those coming for tourism.

He noted that the tourism shrank by 40 per cent during the pandemic. “We aim to reach the sector’s contribution to the Kingdom’s GDP to about 10 percent by 2030,” Al Khateeb said.

According to Al Khateeb, the tourism sector’s contribution to the Kingdom’s GDP was 3 per cent when the tourism strategy was launched in September 2019.