PHOTO: Saudi Arabia wants to attract tourists. (photo via Flickr/Maher Najm)
Like other Middle Eastern nations that have depended on oil, Saudi Arabia is looking for ways to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and tourism is one of the country’s number-one targets.
The Vision 2030 plan calls for tourism investments that include infrastructure, entertainment and the “development of a vibrant society with strong foundations.”
The country wants to showcase its cultural heritage, ancient archeological sites, mountainous landscapes, coastlines, deserts and more.
Currently, foreign tourism is confined mostly to religious travelers making a pilgrimage to Mecca but Saudi Arabia is looking to branch out to other forms of religious tourism and the country is looking to attract holidaymakers as well.
Look no further than the skylines of Riyadh, Mecca, Jeddah and Al Khobar where an enormous amount of hotel construction is currently under way. Riyadh leads the way with nearly 50 hotel projects says a TOPHOTELPROJECTS report prepared exclusively for The Hotel Show Saudi Arabia. In total, 170 hotels and 60,395 guestrooms are currently in the pipeline across the country.
When it comes to drawing visitors Saudi Arabia, the country is making strides there too. Recently, the King Abdul Aziz camel festival drew more than 60,000 visitors to the country, according to a recent article in the independent.
READ MORE: In a Post-Oil Economy, Saudi Arabia Looks to Religious Tourism
The festival, which began in 1999, is a month-long event that just finished on April 15 and has received support from the Saudi Royal family. It features auctions, cultural shows, a museum and more and next year’s plans call for races and “baby camel tipping,” says the Independent.
For those who are looking to purchase their own camel to take home, you will need to sock away some serious cash. The animals are sold for as much as $500,000.
If you don't have that kind of money laying around, you can take an adorable camel photo home for free.