The Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) has opened a commercial office for “key source markets” the UK and Ireland as part of its strategy to engage the tourism trade.
Saudi Arabia opened its borders to international tourism in September 2019 and has recently been advertising on UK television as part of an international brand awareness campaign in 26 countries, despite the current travel ban in the UK as a result of Covid-19.
Offices are planned in 15 source markets around the world including China, India and countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, among others.
The UK and Ireland office will be responsible for trade marketing activities and working with tour operators, travel agents and other industry stakeholders to build awareness of tourism in Saudi Arabia. It is being set up with the support of communications firm MMGY Hills Balfour.
Fahd Hamidaddin, chief executive of the Saudi Tourism Authority, said: “STA is focused on enhancing its ability to deliver a truly global scale offering by investing resources today in the network that will drive our business for the future.
“We are building an integrated global team of professionals to showcase Saudi’s diverse offering of cultural adventures, world class heritage sites and authentic Arabian hospitality.”
Nimit Amin, director for the UK and Ireland, added: “We have already begun outreach into the UK and Ireland tourism trade ecosystem and the response has been very positive. We are actively seeking opportunities to co-invest with partners who are keen to add Saudi as an exciting new destination in their portfolio.”
STA is building a comprehensive digital infrastructure that will provide partner companies with data, insights, destination information and creative assets in real time. They will roll out in stages through 2021, offering ‘on-demand access’ to DMCs, tour operators and other stakeholders.
Hamidaddin added: “By investing now in brand awareness and in our network of international offices, we are seeking to expand the global reach and relevance of these sites and integrating new ways of thinking and delivering on our mandate.
“Tourism businesses need to be more agile than ever to respond to sudden changes in the environment. Agility depends on a constant supply of up-to-date information, and our goal is to get that information to our partners almost as soon as we get it ourselves.
“We are working at pace to help our partners introduce the authentic home of Arabia to more people than ever before.”