Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) recently concluded its first roadshow in China with 13 partners including DMCs, hoteliers and airline partners, showcasing the country’s rich cultural and heritage offerings.
A series of events, meetings, round table discussions and networking events were hosted, resulting in over twenty strategic partnership announcements.
During the multicity roadshow, Saudi Tourism Authority held meetings with over 300 trade partners and travel buyers in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou to promote Saudi as a leisure destination, sharing insights into the emerging trends in MICE tourism.
Saudi’s inclusion in the ‘Approved Destination Scheme’, alongside China’s inclusion in Saudi’s e-visa program and 96-hour Stopover Visa – where guests flying onwards on Saudia can avail a complimentary one-night hotel stay in Saudi – facilitates seamless group travel.
Saudi’s presence in China is an indication of how important the Chinese market is for the Kingdom and its commitment to China as a key source market for Saudi. Saudi has witnessed incredible growth since opening to tourism in 2019 as its post-pandemic tourism recovery outpaced G20 countries with a 121% YoY growth according to UNWTO.
As part of Saudi’s ambition to achieve 100 million visits annually by 2030, China represents immense potential as it is expected to be Saudi’s third top source market by then.
Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO and Member of the Board at Saudi Tourism Authority said: “Our first roadshow in China has been a tremendous success and a testament to Saudi’s potential to become the region’s tourism hub and a gateway to the cultural and natural riches of Arabia for Chinese travelers. Supporting us in realising our vision are our local and international partners whose expertise is crucial for our understanding of the Chinese market and how to better unlock business opportunities for everyone.
“Saudi is growing at the speed of light – the world’s biggest tourism developments are in Saudi and there is much to share. Examples of this are the milestone project Bujairi Terrace, and developments in Al Ahsa Oasis and Hegra which underscore our commitment to meet China’s demand for cultural and heritage tourism in Saudi and a shared future where Saudi and China can cement our relationship through investment and close collaboration to meet our goal of welcoming 4 million Chinese visitors by 2030.”
Alhasan Aldabbagh, President-APAC Markets, Saudi Tourism Authority, said: “We are delighted to showcase the beauty of Saudi and its diverse tourism offerings across China. We have received an overwhelmingly positive response from our partners here and Saudi Tourism Authority is committed to ensuring our product offerings are attractive to the Chinese market. These engagements are important in helping us achieve ambitious goals and drive visitation numbers from China to Saudi.“
Chinese travelers can look forward to a diverse range of experiences from adventure, culture, heritage, and nature. Saudi has curated packages specifically for the Chinese travelers based on their interests and insights. The packages highlight some of the latest developments and most attractive destinations in Saudi, including:
• Culture and Heritage: Saudi has rich cultural and historical sites. It is home to 6 UNESCO world heritage sites and more than 10,000 archaeological sites that are unexplored and that we are waiting to be discovered. This includes historical places like Al Balad in Jeddah and Turaif in Diriyah - the birthplace of Saudi. Preserving its heritage and history, a $50.6 billion masterplan will transform Diriyah, a 300-year-old city, into one of the world’s most exciting cultural sites.
• Nature: Saudi boasts some of the world’s most vibrant, untouched coral reefs in the Red Sea. Holidaymakers can charter a boat for some deep-sea fishing, relax aboard a cruise or scuba dive and snorkel year-round off the coast off Jeddah while enjoying pristine beaches offering every water sport imaginable.
• Entertainment: Saudi is emerging as a major entertainment hub in the region, having hosted large sporting events and world-class festivals such as Diriyah E-Prix and Formula 1 in Jeddah; MDLBeast, the world’s largest music festival and Riyadh Seasons – a mega festival which attracted more than one million visitors in its first week. – TradeArabia News Service