April 9, 2012 – In 2011, Saudi Arabia received over 2.5 million visitors travelling to attend various business conferences and exhibitions taking place in the Kingdom. These travelers spent over $2.05 billion (SR7.7 billion) during their stay on lodging, meals, and other expenses. The importance of the business travel sector in Saudi Arabia was emphasized by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) during the fifth Saudi Travel and Tourism Investment Market 2012 (TTIM) exhibition held April 2-5. The TTIM, held at the Riyadh Exhibition Center, featured 140 exhibitors in the tourism industry.

Experts at the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry estimate the tourism industry increased Saudi Arabia’s GDP by 4 percent and accounted for 8 percent of non-oil GDP and 12.3 percent of private sector GDP in 2011. The sector also employees 6.1 percent of total workers in the Kingdom.