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Saudi Arabia plans to develop up to 500,000 additional hotel rooms to cut down on its economy’s reliance on oil, reported Gulf News.

Saudi Tourism Minister Ahmad Al Khatib stated that the new accommodations will be built by the government across various regions of the country, including the futuristic Neom project.

Al Khatib said: “We are building an additional 400,000 to 500,000 new key rooms… And the private sector will put more rooms.”

At the World Tourism Day conference held in Riyadh between September 27 and 28, Al Khatib expressed that the country has created 200,000 tourism jobs in the last four years and aims to add 800,000 more.

The conference was attended by 500 officials as well as experts in the industry from 120 countries.

Saudi Arabia’s goal for this year is to welcome 25 million foreign tourists.

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By GlobalData

In recent years, the country has employed a range of initiatives to attract more international visitors, including the introduction of on-arrival or online tourist visas for citizens of various countries.

The country launched an electronic visa called a ‘visiting investor visa’, designed to facilitate foreigners’ visits to the country to explore investment opportunities.

Earlier this month, Marriott International signed an agreement with Neom to open two luxury hotels in the northwest region of Saudi Arabia.

The properties consist of a JW Marriott property and the country’s first W Hotel, both situated in Trojena.

Last month, Sagma, a luxury guest amenities distributor in the GCC, announced its expansion into Saudi Arabia.