پادشاهی عربستان سعودی به یک مقصد مهم گردشگری برای گروه بزرگی از مردم کشورهای شورای همکاری خلیج فارس (GCC) تبدیل شده است.
Saudi cities in 2011, received over 5 million tourist trips arriving from GCC, of which 2 million trips were in the 3rd quarter of 2011 during the summer season.
According to a report issued by the Tourism Information and Research Center (MAS), the statistical arm of SCTA, on tourism figures in 2011, it has provided that Kuwait has come first in the number of inbound tourist trips from GCC countries, reaching 2.6 million, with 14.7 percent. The United Arab Emirates came second with 1.5 million trips, with 8.8 percent. Bahrain came third with 1.2 million trips and finally Qatar with 1.1 million tourist trips.
Indicating the purposes of tourist trips, the MAS report further stated that 1.7 million tourist trips, the largest number of inbound tourist trips from GCC countries, were for visiting relatives and friends in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; 900,000 tourist trips were for the purpose of attending business events; and 400,000 were for shopping purposes.
Kuwait topped the number of tourist trips to the Kingdom for the purposes of business events, recreation, entertainment, and visiting relatives. Qatar came first in terms of number of tourist trips for the purpose of shopping.
The report also stated that the number of Kingdom’s inbound tourist trips from GCC countries was short in terms of period of residence, varying from 4 to 5 nights, and most of tourist nights were spent in hotels or private places.
Noteworthy, tourist trip is an applied criterion used in international tourism statistics which refers to the number of trips made by one person or more outside the place of their residence.