Tourism in the Gulf is a game changer
14 February 2023
The process of opening-up Saudi Arabia to the world is going on in earnest. As a part of the Vision 2030 blueprint, masterminded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi government is implementing a plan, which, amongst many other things, aims to turn the Kingdom into a popular tourist destination by the end of the decade. Other GCC countries, but particularly UAE, Qatar and Oman, also seek a growth in tourism, and see the industry as one of the potential pillars for their post oil economies. In many countries, tourism is a major economic activity that contributes to economic prosperity. It is also an industry which generates revenues that quickly seep downwards to the very grassroots of society, and so everyone benefits from it. But apart from the economic and financial gains, tourism can also be an instrument of change within societies, opening up conservative, inward looking communities to the outside world. Several Arab Gulf countries have the ambition of turning themselves into major tourist destinations, and some have already considerable success. The potential is great, but there are also some risks.