The impact of Riyadh Season on Saudi tourism

Flight bookings for travel to Riyadh from October 2019 to January 2020 more than doubled

The festival made a positive impact on the local hotel industry, with a 72% increase in hotel bookings year-on-year
The festival made a positive impact on the local hotel industry, with a 72% increase in hotel bookings year-on-year

Seera Group, the Saudi-based travel and tourism company, has revealed a significant increase in consumer travel bookings to the Saudi capital city, highlighting the success of Riyadh Season, reported sister publication Arabian Business.

Flight bookings for travel to Riyadh from October 2019 to January 2020 more than doubled compared to the same period in the previous year.

Seera's report said the 66-day Riyadh Season, the biggest of 11 events planned as part of the Saudi Seasons initiative, started mid-October 2019, offering over 100 cultural and entertainment events and experiences.

According to General Entertainment Authority chairman, Turki Al Sheikh, more than 11 million people visited Riyadh Season 2019-2020.

During the festival, flights booked into Riyadh increased by 107% year-on-year with the domestic and inbound air travel bookings surging by 106% while international flights registered a 110% growth.

Seera Group, EVP consumer travel, Muzzammil Ahussain said: “Our latest travel report underlines Riyadh Season’s huge success and its contribution to the growth of tourism in Saudi Arabia. Riyadh Season, a blockbuster initiative has helped put the spotlight on the kingdom’s rich heritage, culture and diversity.”

Built on Saudi Vision 2030 goal of establishing the entertainment industry as a key component of the national economy, Riyadh Season delivered unprecedented opportunities for locals, residents, and visitors to enjoy world-class entertainment and activities across 12 themed zones spread around the city.

The data indicated that 71% of the  bookings were made for departures from Saudi Arabia, including Jeddah, Damman, Madinah, Abha and Gizan. The rest of the attendees from outside the kingdom were mainly from the MENA region with the majority travelling from Dubai and Cairo.

According to the report, demand for one to three-star hotels in Riyadh increased by 240% and four-star accommodation up by 78% while five-star luxury properties experienced a minor decline of 4% in total bookings.

Overall, Seera said the festival made a positive impact on the local hotel industry, with a 72% increase in hotel bookings year-on-year.

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