Special Issue Article
Domestic Tourism Development in Asir Region, Saudi Arabia
Ahmad Puad Mat Som* and Amer Hani Al-Kassem
Al Faisal University, Prince Sultan College for Tourism and Business, Abha, Saudi Arabia
- *Corresponding Author:
- Ahmad Puad Mat Som
Associate Professor in Tourism Management
Al Faisal University
Prince Sultan College for Tourism and Business
Abha, Saudi Arabia
E-mail: [email protected], [email protected]
Received Date: January 27, 2013; Accepted Date: February 28, 2013; Published Date: March 04, 2013
Citation: Som APM, Al-Kassem AH (2013) Domestic Tourism Development in Asir Region, Saudi Arabia. J Tourism Hospit S5:001. doi: 10.4172/2167-0269.S5-001
Copyright: © 2013 Som APM, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Domestic tourism is supposed to compose the largest and most unaddressed proportion of the tourism ‘iceberg’, but has been overshadowed by the interest in international tourism on behalf of academics and policy makers. Unlike international tourism which depends greatly on global systems and mega-infrastructure, domestic tourism deems to have evolved and sustained itself in the absence of heavy investments and commercialization. It has also been suggested as an appropriate substitute to international tourism under the influence of external factors such as disasters and crises. In tourism studies, not many researchers have engaged themselves in the topic of domestic tourism in the Middle-east region especially in Saudi Arabia. The focus on domestic tourism is important in Saudi Arabia as the country is one of the biggest exporters of tourists going out of the kingdom, and the government is trying to retain a larger portion of tourism spending of its local tourists in the national tourism industry. In view of this, this paper attempts to discuss the potentials and challenges of developing domestic tourism in the Asir region, which is situated in the southwestern part of Saudi Arabia. The analysis is based on secondary data and supported by interviews with twelve tourism operators and hoteliers in the region. The findings revealed that Asir region is a unique tourist destination and has considerable unrealized potential, however, the growth of domestic tourism requires diversification in terms of product, market and geographical areas. As tourism development is a comprehensive undertaking involving many sectors and stakeholders, it is crucial for the government to come up with multi-hierarchical, all-inclusive and coordinated development strategy, and these are the challenges to which the country’s tourism industry should respond to promote domestic tourism.