An exclusive webinar was curated to explore and discover Saudi’s exciting new tourism offering.
As the landscape evolves, the Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) has launched ‘Journeys in Arabia’, an exclusive online event curated especially for Travel Trade Partners around the globe. It is more important than ever to continue to inspire, engage and educate travel trade for when the world safely re-opens and travel resumes.
The virtual engagement series, taking place across six markets around the world, is a first-of-its-kind initiative for STA, a source of inspiration and excitement, designed to inform partners about the diverse products and experiences that Arabia offers.
The India ‘Journeys in Arabia’ webinar brought together local travel trade partners, for an opportunity to hear from thought leaders and experts in the tourism industry. The line up of speakers were:
- Welcome address by Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO, Saudi Tourism Authority
- Keynote conversation ‘Journeys Make People’ between Abdullah Al Dakhil, International Communication Manager, Saudi Tourism Authority and celebrated Indian Journalist Vir Sanghvi.
- Expert panel discussion with:
- Haitham Mattar, CCO, Saudi Tourism Authority
- Benazir Nazar, CEO, Akbar Travels
- Deep Kalra, Founder & Group Executive Chairman, Make My Trip
- Madhavan Menon, Chairman & Managing Director, Thomas Cook Group
- Rakshit Desai, Managing Director – India, FCM
- Sheema Vohra, Managing Director, Sartha Global Marketing
Some of the key highlights and market insights of the discussion were:
- India has been identified as one of the key source markets, and STA’s tourism strategy focuses on promoting experiences related to culture, heritage, nature and adventure in Saudi. Shorter-duration packages, direct flights and ease in visa (preferably e-visas) procurement will be game-changers for a new destination like Saudi. Saudi also offers exceptional experiences for diving, adventure sports, and sustainable tourism. The country will also host the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in 2021. The high-end Umrah market from India is a major captive audience, combining pilgrimage with leisure through post-Umrah leisure packages. Promoting unique destinations like AlUla for wedding tourism will be a huge draw for Saudi.
- Lastly, consumer behavior has seen a drastic shift in a post-Covid world with both MICE and Leisure travel experiencing a heightened ecological sensitivity. Travelers are seeking clear information and assurance related to hygiene and safety.