Kingdom’s Domestic Tourism, Entertainment Push Leads to Declines in Saudis Visiting Dubai

The number of Saudi tourists visiting Dubai in 2019 dropped as Saudi Arabia begins to see major gains in its domestic tourism market and local entertainment offerings.

Data from Visit Dubai in 2019 shows a decline in visitors from Saudi Arabia.

Data from Visit Dubai in 2019 shows a decline in visitors from Saudi Arabia.

Dubai, a favorite among Saudis as a regional vacation destination, is now facing competition with Saudi cities like Riyadh and Jeddah as well as other locations throughout the Kingdom as Saudi society begins to open up to new entertainment, dining, and cultural options. Saudi authorities are focusing on these attractions in order to keep Saudis – and their spending power – at home.

The data from Visit Dubai, shows that 1.565 million Saudis visited Dubai in 2019, compared with 1.568 million in 2018. 1.529 million Saudis visited in 2017.

The year-on-year decline is troubling news for tourism-dependent Dubai, which is set to host the Dubai Expo 2020 this year.

One of the main attractions this year in Saudi Arabia has been the Riyadh Season – a series of events and entertainment offerings that has included musical performances, sports, and other festivals aimed at increasing the viability of the city as a place to live and visit for tourism.