The potential role of sports tourism in supporting local economies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Author: Essam Ali M Albuhlul

Albuhlul, Essam Ali M, 2022 The potential role of sports tourism in supporting local economies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Flinders University, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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With approximately 16 million visitors (pre-COVID-19), Saudi Arabia is the second most popular Middle Eastern tourist destination. Tourists choosing to visit Saudi Arabia typically do so to engage in religious pilgrimages, although there has been an increase in non-religious leisure travel. Due to recent growth in international tourist arrivals as a result of relaxed travel visa restrictions, Saudi Arabia now seeks to build a post-oil economy around the leisure industry. Tourism is a significant human activity, although many countries must now directly compete to attract international tourists, including the Middle East. To attract more diverse international tourist cohorts, new forms of tourism are now being developed to broaden appeal, and this has been witnessed in Saudi Arabia also. The Kingdom is blessed with abundant historical attractions amongst a range of cultural destinations, that include food experiences and festivals. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) estimates that travel and tourism brought in $65.2 billion in revenue for Saudi Arabia in 2018 alone and the national government anticipates that through new marketing strategies and tourism diversification, arrivals will grow further. In particular, ‘Sports tourism’ has been identified as an opportunity to grow international tourism in the country.

Keywords: Sport Tourism, Saudi Arabia, Local economies

Subject: Tourism thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2022
School: College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Supervisor: Gareth Butler