Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman during his 2019 visit to Riyadh
After Thailand, Maldives and several European nations, Saudi Arabia is now looking to tap the Indian travellers as it aims to strengthen its tourism sector.
According to reports, Saudi Arabia could become the next tourist hub for Indians as the country aggressively promotes itself as a global tourist destination.
“As part of Saudi’s ambition to achieve 100 million visits annually by 2030, India represents immense potential as it is expected to be one of Saudi’s largest tourism source markets by then,” Saudi Tourism Authority said, adding that it hopes to welcome two million Indian travellers this year itself.
To promote tourism, which will boost people to people contact as well, STA has also commenced an official partnership with the world’s preeminent Twenty 20 cricket league, the TATA Indian Premier League (IPL).
Through this partnership, STA aims to tap into a strong fanbase between the two countries, encourage affinity and increase awareness of Saudi as a leading destination for Indian travelers, especially among young people, the STA release said. With more than half of its population below the age of 30, India shares a similar demographic profile with Saudi Arabia, where 58 percent of the local population is in the same age group, it added.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is already looking at India for boosting its food security. The country has identified India as the best destination to source commodities like rice, red meat, sugar, infant milk powder, seafood among others. As purchase of agricultural lands by a foreign entity is not allowed, the Saudi Agricultural & Livestock Investment Company (SALIC), owned by Public Investment Fund is acquiring stakes in Indian exporter companies, for ensuring food security, the Indian Embassy website said.
Saudi Arabia is also a critical import source for India’s energy requirements.
The two have also synergised their focus on shifting focus from conventional energy to clean sources.
Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Energy Minister of Saudi Arabia said that the country is in the process of firming up investment plans in India’s energy sector.
India has investments over $2 billion in Saudi Arabia while the West Asian nation is the 17th largest investor in India with investments of $3.13 billion (March 2021).
Also read: From Jeddah to Mundra, Saudi Arabia’s new shipping line can be a game changer