Saudi Tourism Authority

Saudi Tourism Authority on the upcoming roadshow and the future of tourism

Ahead of the virtual Saudi Roadshow on March 30-31, Abdullah Al Dakhil, STA spokesperson, talks about what agents can expect from the event, as well as the future of Saudi tourism.

Tell us a bit about the Saudi Roadshow - what can we expect to see?

As it relates to leisure tourism, Saudi is a relatively new destination. Our focus is two-fold. While it is fundamental to drive awareness about Saudi amongst travelers around the world, we must also engage, educate and inspire our travel trade partners about the diverse products and experiences that Arabia offers.

The Saudi Roadshow is an opportunity for our partners to meet-on-on-one with senior representatives from key destination, experience and hospitality brands. It is a platform for them to ask questions, build relationships and stimulate conversations around the potential commercial partnership opportunities. This is the first time we are engaging trade at this level. The response to date has been extremely positive and we look forward to increasing activity to further showcase the Saudi offering.

How is STA planning to increase tourism numbers over the coming years?

We aim to achieve 100 million annual visits to the Kingdom by 2030, made up of both domestic and international travelers. To achieve this goal, we have developed a comprehensive strategy to drive the number of visits, increase spend and to build a leading tourism brand for Saudi. 

We have identified 15 priority leisure source markets spanning the GCC region, Asia, North America and Europe. This is broken down further into three target segments, leisure, MICE and spiritual travel. Since opening our doors to leisure tourism in September 2019, STA has unveiled many new destinations and experiences for audiences from home and abroad.

The campaigns highlight what Saudi has to offer today – its rich culture, deep heritage, diversity of landscapes and unparalleled hospitality. It is the authentic home of Arabia: a place of exploration, of unique experiences. This is what we want the world to discover about Saudi. 

Vision 2030: what is the overall aim of this framework?

Vision 2030 is a blueprint for the socio-economic future of Saudi Arabia as a diverse and sustainable economy. The Vision strategy identifies tourism as a key strategic industry that creates jobs, drives growth and contributes to quality of life for Saudis and visitors alike.

What are the country's long-term plans concerning sustainable tourism?

In alignment with the Ministry of Tourism, STA is rapidly laying the foundations for a thriving tourism ecosystem that will drive economic growth, create inclusive and sustainable employment and attract investment, while preserving the environment and the livelihood of local communities. Our approach is rooted in an understanding that the tourism sector needs to safeguard the environments, cultures and communities that underpin its appeal.

All tourism developments are being examined through the lens of sustainability. The destination scale initiatives like the Red Sea, NEO, Qiddiya, Amaala, AlUla and Diriyah have sustainability at the core and are setting new global standards in managing the relationship between tourism and the environment.

How is STA promoting cultural and heritage sites? What can tourists expect to see?

Saudi has a diverse and exciting offering when it comes to culture and heritage. The country is home to five UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and a further 11 sites on the UNESCO tentative list. As we develop this aspect of our offering, Hegra in AlUla and Diriyah on the outskirts of Riyadh are spotlight projects for tourists considering a visit to Saudi in the coming months.  

Hegra, once the southern capital of the Nabataean kingdom, officially opened to leisure tourism in October 2020. Located in AlUla, there are several exciting infrastructure projects in the pipeline, such as French architect Jean Nouvel’s luxury resort in the Sharaan Reserve and Singapore luxury hotel group Aman’s three eco-focused resorts. Diriyah, the birthplace of the Saudi state, aims to become one of the region's foremost destinations for historical and cultural knowledge-sharing activities and international events.

How are you planning on engaging with your travel trade partners?

We are investing in developing strong relationships with key partners in the travel trade sector in all of our priority source markets. We are in the process of building a network of international offices, responsible for both trade and consumer marketing activities, to expand the reach and relevance of Saudi’s tourism offer. Each market will be tasked with developing a tailored, strategic approach to most effectively engage with their target audiences, whether it be workshops, road shows, training, marketing campaign or FAM trips.

Agents can register for the Saudi virtual roadshow at www.JourneysinArabia.com/uk-roadshow-request


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