Located in proximity to GCC countries as a convergence point, the eastern region occupies a prominent location in the GCC tourism map, according to a statement by a Tourism & Antiquities Authority official. The Authority plans to convert the area into a major holiday destination for GCC families. The accommodation industry has witnessed substantial growth. More than 114 hotels were built of which 13 are 5 star hotels. There are more than 750 furnished housing units. During the next two years 40 five and four stars hotels will be built. The total investment in the tourism industry amounts to more than SR 11 billion. The region managed to attract more than 7 million visitors.