Tourism in Saudi Arabia is not developed because the country does not have what most European or American tourists want – strict Islamic law forbids alcohol consumption, and in many places women are faced with a number of limitations.
Today, the royal family has high hopes for tourism. Last year one official declared that this economic activity, “the second most important in the economic sector”, a new, ambitious project called Vision 2030, is expected to bring considerable revenue for the country. If all goes as planned, a large part of the coastal area will be turned into a tourist zone, with a large number of museums, historical sites and other tourist attractions, writes “Independent”. In an interview with Al Arabiya television, the deputy of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pointed out that the country should open the doors “wide” to tourists of all nationalities. Saudi Arabia is home to Mecca and Medina, the two most important monuments of Islamic religion, and has developed a strong tourism industry dedicated to religious visitors. Their efforts to boost the tourism and attract different types of tourists have so far come up short, mainly due to poor infrastructure.
The best way to attract tourists from the west is to improve infrastructure and build a museum dedicated to the Islamic faith, next to the already existing cultural facilities. Nevertheless, it is highly unlikely that Saudi Arabia could develop a reputation for being a new world tourist ‘Superpower’. Bruce Riedel of the Brookings Institute in Washington said: “To attract Western and Russian tourists, you need to supply large amounts of alcohol and approve bikinis. Saudi church elders would never accept it, so I’m afraid that plans to expand the market, which will bring more money, will never become a reality. “