Saudi Arabia's most recent and major event, Riyadh Season, was able to bring in over 5 million visitors in the span of three weeks, General Entertainment Authority (GEA) Chairperson Turki Al Al-Sheikh confirmed.
The GEA revealed a record-breaking number of people made it to the capital last weekend. Over 200,000 visitors went to the capital on Oct. 31 alone, while over 175,000 came in on Nov. 1. Riyadh Season will continue to provide entertainment to any and all the region's citizens and visitors until mid-December across all 12 designated locations.
The latter are split into six main zones: Riyadh Boulevard, Riyadh Front, Riyadh Car Exhibition, Riyadh Winter Wonderland, Riyadh Stadium, and the Diplomatic Quarters. Six secondary locations are also present to fit the huge crowd making its way to the capital, and they include: Al Muraba'a, Al Malaz, Wadi Namar, Nabd Al Riyadh, Riyadh Safari, and Riyadh Sahara.
Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, which was placed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2016 to boost the country's oil-reliant economy, aims to bring in 100 million tourists by 2030 in order to become one of the top five tourism and entertainment countries in the world.
To do so, the kingdom introduced (for the first time in its history) a tourist visa in September, with some lenient laws and rules for tourists to enjoy their stay to the maximum. Two weeks later, the GCC country expanded the scheme - which originally allowed tourists from 49 countries to enter the country - to cover more ground. Now, holders of a valid U.S., UK, or Schengen visa may also enjoy tourism in Saudi Arabia.
With Riyadh Season completing 80 percent of its "end of season goals" in the first 10 days of its commencement, as well as bringing in over 5 million visitors in under a month, alongside 24,000 tourists flying to the kingdom in its first 10 days of launching its tourist visa, the 100-million target does not seem too far fetched.
As most of the Saudi Seasons have come to an end - apart from Riyadh Season, which ends on Dec. 15 - three more major seasons are aligned and will take place before the end of 2019.
The season to come next is Diriyah Season, from Nov. 22 until Dec. 21, and will have visitors experience "an era of Mega Sports events through a slew of global showdowns from Boxing Championship, to Formula E-racing, Tennis Cup and Equestrian Festival."
The remaining two seasons will be located in the north-western historical city of Al Ula from Dec. 19 until Mar. 7, and in the city at the center of the Arabian Peninsula, Hail, from Dec. 22 until Feb. 10.