Saudi Tourism Authority hosts 4-city networking events for Indian travel trade

Beginning the year with massive inbound numbers from last year and encouraging growth projections, Saudi tourism is racing ahead on its remarkable journey. Saudi aims to make India its top source market targeting 7.5 million visitors within the next seven years.

Committed to the Indian market, Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) hosted a series of power-packed networking events held across four cities – Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, and Delhi for the members of the Indian travel trade associations. The STA delegation with key stakeholders engaged with over 500 travel agents and tour operators from these key cities. STA also organised sales mission in collaboration with leading Destination Management Companies (DMC) across all four cities, engaging with key trade partners. It showcased STA’s dedication towards fostering strategic partnerships and long-term business ties within India.

STA also participated in OTM in Mumbai and SATTE in Greater Noida setting the tone for a year brimming with opportunities. STA delegation, comprising 20 key Saudi stakeholders and distinguished associates, engaged fervently with Indian travel agents and tour operators, paving the way for collaborations. The encouraging numbers of visits in 2023 – a remarkable 50 per cent rise over 2022 – speak volumes about their sound strategy and focused roadmap.

The trade shows, held in February, witnessed the unlocking of the full potential of Saudi’s tourism offerings. At the heart of these engagements stood the vibrant Saudi Pavilion, a beacon of cultural richness and hospitality, drawing hundreds of visitors.

Visitors could step into an immersive experience zone featuring life-size screens on two sides showcasing a variety of experiences, transporting them to Saudi – the true home of Arabia. Attendees were also treated to the famous Arab hospitality with traditional Saudi coffee and dates, embodying the essence of Hafawah, alongside crown weaving with flowers from the Asir region and personalised Arabic calligraphy section.

Throughout the events, STA engaged in meetings, signed MoUs and initiated partnerships with members of Indian travel trade associations, tour operators, and event planners. Attendees were enlightened about 17,000 events on the Saudi calendar. From showcasing electronic visa options for Indian travellers to highlighting Giga projects, newly launched hotels, and increased air connectivity, STA presented Saudi Arabia as a premier tourism destination.

To facilitate seamless travel experiences for Indian visitors, Saudi has simplified its visa process, offering options like e-visas and visa-on-arrival. These options are extended to individuals with US, UK, and Schengen visas and stamped proof of entry from the issuing country. Visa applications can be applied Tasheer Centres across India and on the official platform

The air connectivity has increased significantly, reaching a capacity of 2.8 million seats in 2023, marking a remarkable 31 per cent increase since 2019. Flights from 12 major Indian hubs to Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam support our tourism efforts, unlocking a world of exploration.

STA has also lined up various consumer campaigns for this year. It includes a destination awareness campaign from the luxury point of view, summer initiatives in March and April as well as winter initiatives later this year. The Living Wonders of Arabia and the Women Wonder campaigns will be launched soon. STA launched the ‘Go Beyond What You Think’ campaign video with football icon Lionel Messi earlier this year reflecting the vision of positioning the country as an exciting destination and breaking myths.

With a slew of consumer campaigns, giga projects and major trade partnerships set to be rolled out in the coming months, STA is geared for another mega year ahead.


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