Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO of Saudi Arabia Tourism Authority Picture Credit score: Saudi Arabia Tourism Authority
Saudi Arabia is a rising vacation spot.
Since opening for tourism in 2019, Saudi Arabia grew to become a spot added to the bucket lists of many vacationers.
Many American vacationers nonetheless do not know that a lot in regards to the nation.
We caught up with Saudi Tourism Authority CEO Fahd Hamidaddin to be taught extra in regards to the nation’s tourism developments, in addition to hear his message for journey advisors.
TravelPulse: Because the journey trade begins its restoration path, what’s the most recent with Saudi Arabia’s tourism?
Fahd Hamidaddin: 2019 was the yr we opened, 5 months down the highway our borders closed due to COVID. So, it’s extremely straightforward for us to recuperate. We’re now at over 130% restoration versus the primary six months of .
We’re on an exponential progress as a result of we’re a brand new vacation spot, there was loads of mystique related to this nation that has been hidden from the world, and now it is open. So there are a lot of folks and plenty of trade movers and shakers which can be saying this is a chance that does not come usually. There are hardly any locations which can be nonetheless closed not to mention a vacation spot as wealthy and as massive as Saudi, so we’re very optimistic of the long run.
Saudi is by far the biggest investor in tourism. We genuinely imagine within the energy of tourism for the folks, for the area, and for the world. Then you definitely go and speak about improvement – no nation is growing sustainably [like Saudi]. Sustainability – it is a massive phrase, however the actuality on the bottom is you begin with the fundamentals. Sustainability is, let’s speak about your native communities, so it is residents earlier than vacationers. Its alternative, entry to wealth, its preservation of tradition – all of that is a part of sustainability.
On sustainability, Saudi has dedicated to 70% of its whole land in type of reserves and dedicated to re-wilding 21 species world wide – we began with the Arabian leopard. Now we speak about the way forward for locations, like growing the 300 Virgin Islands that now we have on the Crimson Sea, or town of the long run in The Line on NEOM, or the preservation and the celebration of our heritage websites – and it goes far past simply being six UNESCO heritage websites. [It’s] websites that seize 7,000 years of historical past. Then you will have Diriyah with $50 billion dedication to develop the biggest mud metropolis on this planet. Diriyah is the birthplace of the kings of and heroes of Arabia, so there’s a lot.
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TP: Well being and security are high of thoughts for vacationers nowadays, so what’s your message to vacationers relating to the security of their go to once they come to Saudi Arabia?
FH: So, security is a number of layers now. So far as COVID is anxious for example, that is in all probability the largest subject and Saudi was at all times amongst the highest 5 throughout all experiences on this planet on how we responded to COVID. Getting an entire nationwide built-in plan that’s executed with full compliance was the headline of what Saudi grew to become a worldwide handle for the security of girls. I feel Saudi, as per one of many newest American international security experiences mainly mentioned that Saudi is the house of the most secure metropolis for ladies after midnight. For those who go and have a look at UN experiences on crime charges, Saudi is amongst the highest lowest crime charges on this planet. So, I feel we’re not simply secure, we are the most secure on this planet or amongst the most secure on this planet.
TP: Many People have a pre-conceived notion of Saudi – how do you are feeling about that?
FH: I normally say the world sees the world by way of the American lens. Now with that, the American lens that’s desirous about what occurs in a distant nation like Saudi would have a look at tensions and have a look at points, so naturally they’d solely cowl issues like wars, oil costs, human rights, and so on. That is what they’d carry after which they really have a tendency to carry an image about that nation by way of what issues to them, and in the event that they speak about the good things it does not promote, so I perceive.
However I feel lots of people, as I mentioned, see the world by way of the American lens, I for one was a type of which have appreciated loads of nice values of the American values by training. I feel each civilization has its personal magnificence and worth system and Arabia has been offering for hundreds of years and 1000’s of years, and I imagine Saudi as the biggest and probably the most genuine residence of Arabia has so much that has supplied and to supply as we speak.
I’d encourage all these curious vacationers to be open and so they’ll be delighted, just like the greater than 80,000 People which have visited us within the final quarter.
Diving within the Crimson Sea Picture Credit score: Saudi Arabia Tourism Authority
TP: Earlier this yr it was introduced that Playa Resorts & Resorts can be Bringing All Inclusive Resorts to Saudi Arabia – What’s the way forward for all-inclusive resorts in Saudi Arabia? Are extra accommodations on the horizon?
FH: After all there’s so much on the horizon. I imply, each week I get to learn about new accommodations signing in. Now, the all-inclusive in particular, I do know there’s one Rixos apart from the [Playa Resorts] one. However I am guessing that mainstream cities and town like Jeddah for instance can be an ideal vacation spot for all-inclusive. Many of the all inclusives are seaside resorts, proper? So, our seaside locations, now we have the mainstream like Jeddah, and now we have luxurious ones like Crimson Sea Venture Amaala. Jeddah is internet hosting the Rixos one, and so I am anticipating extra to observe there.
TP: Resorts, usually, are rising although?
FH: Sure, it is a rising market. The variety of accommodations that bought introduced in a single mission, I do know that they are internet hosting 38 five-star accommodations. They’ve introduced Baccarat, 4 Seasons, Aman, Montage…however they’re anticipating to have 38 and that is only one improvement website in Riyadh.
The goal is about to draw 100 million guests is introducing extra 500,000 rooms within the coming 8 years…that is practically 4 occasions Vegas.
TP: What’s your message to journey advisors?
FH: I’d say that what [advisors] are after is delighting their clients and giving them significant journey, so I feel the last word luxurious is significant journey. I feel Saudi, with its tradition and its dedication to doing what’s good for the sector, it may well make it a really, very rewarding vacation spot for all of the advisors.
I encourage them to find Saudi and be a part of the others which have began and are already having fun with good-looking enterprise progress. And yet another dedication to [advisors] is that we’ll assure their expertise. Saudi Tourism Authority will assure their expertise.
For extra info on Saudi Arabia, go to their tourism hub right here.