Travels & Tours

How Saudi Arabia can strengthen its attractiveness for (world-wide) sporting activities tourism

Saudi Arabia has established the aim to improve its attractiveness for ‘sport tourists’ – travellers who possibly go to the place for a (significant) sporting occasion or for doing leisure sporting activities them selves. In accordance to investigation from KPMG, in get to be productive, the Kingdom should really cater to the varied requirements of all diverse kinds of travellers.

At current, the sporting activities sector contributes about .two% of the Kingdom’s GDP, when the tourism sector contributes about three%, in accordance to the Ministry of Activity and the Ministry of Tourism. The two ministries have bold targets for expansion: sporting activities should really lead .six% of GDP and tourism ten% by 2030.

In its new report, titled ‘Competitive edge: The unfolding probable for sporting activities tourism in Saudi Arabia’, specialists from KPMG define how just one of the significant motorists for expansion sits at the crossroads of the two: sporting activities tourism.

Recently held sports events in Saudi Arabia

The most perfectly-acknowledged sort of sporting activities tourism is what KPMG describes as ‘spectator sporting activities tourism’, referring to multi-sporting activities game titles these types of as Olympics, Asian Video games, Asia Cup, Globe Cup, Components One particular, and far more.

Saudi Arabia is for instance currently property to a Components One particular race (in Jeddah, which was gained yesterday by the Dutchman Max Verstappen in an epic head to head fight with Charles Leclerc), an intercontinental tennis and golfing event, and quite a few significant-profile soccer game titles (the Saudi soccer group is just one of Asia’s most productive, obtaining gained the Asian Cup 3 periods). 

“Last calendar year has currently found a huge boost in routines and functions hosted in Saudi Arabia, showcasing the abilities and ambitions of web hosting huge-scale regional and world-wide functions,” mentioned Hanan Alowain, Companion, Federal government and General public Sector at KPMG in Saudi Arabia. 

In accordance to studies, Saudi Arabia is at the moment doing the job on programs to host what would be its greatest sporting occasion in heritage: the 2030 Globe Cup. 

A 2nd product of sporting activities tourism mentioned by KPMG is the ‘destination-dependent sporting activities tourism’ class. This class teams travellers that are captivated to the Kingdom for its broad all-natural infrastructure. Illustrations involve routines like diving and other watersports alongside the Purple Sea coastline, mountain climbing, as perfectly as desert routines these types of as rally racing, jogging, biking, motor and quad biking. 

The 3rd class is billed as ‘alternative site sporting activities tourism’, referring to the activity that travellers usually perform shut to property when they are not on family vacation. The activity – or overall family vacation – is improved by the spot. A essential instance listed here is golfing, currently just one of the most prolific tourism sporting activities about the planet. 

In its report, KPMG’s scientists contest that “Saudi Arabia’s landscape and shoreline can give an excellent and stunning setting for sporting activities and could be a a activity changer. Currently property to fourteen golfing classes (seven on grass and seven on sand), there are programs to create far more than ten new golfing classes throughout the place above the up coming 10 years.

Rounding off the 4 types discovered, ‘participation-pushed sporting activities tourism’ refers to mass participation in activity routines, these types of as desert jogging and biking races. Typically, the occasion brings together elite and novice competitions.

From eyesight to motion

The scientists conclude that sporting activities tourism has a huge probable to enhance the currently huge stream of spiritual tourism into the place. Recognizing this even so necessitates “a very clear multi-activity and multi-vacationer strategy”, “investments in infrastructure”, and “coordination concerning organizers, mostly the personal sector, community sector enablers and countrywide tourism promoters”.

A entire listing of KPMG’s essential suggestions for every activity vacationer class:

Key learnings

In accordance to details from Saudi’s Ministry of Tourism, the Kingdom is the most important vacationer spot in the Center East with above twenty million website visitors recorded in 2021. More than two thirds of travellers took component in spiritual pilgrimages to Mecca and Medina, among the other individuals.

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