Saudi Arabia taps Chinese tourists for growth amid wanderlust
08/08/2023|3:22:53 PM|China Daily

Saudi Arabia, which launched its first direct flight to Beijing last week, said it hopes to welcome more than 4 million Chinese tourists by 2030 amid significant growth in its tourism sector.

Saudi Arabia's national flag carrier Saudia, which launched the route to the national capital on Friday, will operate four weekly flights between Jeddah and Beijing. The inaugural return flight between the two cities saw a passenger load factor of 87%, and most of them were Chinese passengers, the carrier said.

"China is a very important route for Saudia. The introduction of the new direct flights to and from Beijing not only boosts tourism but also strengthens the overall economic and cultural ties between the two nations," said Ibrahim Al-Omar, director-general of Saudia Group.

"Tourism is a pillar of Saudi Vision 2030, and China is ranked among the top global sources of tourists. This new route will be another large step forward toward Saudi Arabia's ambitious economic diversification agenda and it can achieve much growth with more Chinese vacationers coming to the Kingdom," he said.

Currently, direct flights connect a Chinese mainland city with Teheran in Iran, Riyadh in Saudi Arabia and Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

In the past few months, Tuniu Corp, a Nanjing, Jiangsu province-based online travel agency, said it had received a large number of inquires from Chinese consumers about traveling to countries in the Middle East.

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