Britain and Saudi Arabia agree tourism collaboration

Britain and Saudi Arabia agree tourism collaboration

Tourist authorities look to mutually assist growth in visitor numbers 

The Saudi Tourism Authority and Britain’s national tourism agency VisitBritain have signed a Declaration of Intent, setting out areas of co-operation between Britain and Saudi Arabia to develop and grow tourism.

The two parties will collaborate on sharing knowledge and expertise on both domestic and international tourism. 

The agreement was signed to coincide with the roll-out of VisitBritain’s ‘Spilling the Tea on GREAT Britain’ advertising campaign across the Kingdom.

The campaign using Arabic-only assets started across digital platforms in Saudi Arabia on 8 May, with the goal to drive consumers to VisitBritain’s new Arabic website, inspire visitors from the Kingdom to plan their travel to Britain in 2024 and signpost them towards the UK’s Electronic Travel Authorisation Scheme for Saudi nationals.

London Bridge

VisitBritain’s forecasts 240,000 visitors to the UK from Saudi Arabia in 2024, up 9% from 2019. It also predicts that travellers from the Kingdom will spend US$65.56m during their trips, up 20% against 2019.

VisitBritain CEO Patricia Yates said: “Working with the Saudi Tourism Authority builds on our wider engagement in Saudi Arabia to inspire more Saudis to choose Britain for their next visit. We look forward to working with the Saudi Tourism Authority to boost our competitive tourism offer, bringing the best of Britain to Saudi visitors and harnessing the timely and valuable opportunities for growth.”

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Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is looking to attract more visitors from the UK as part of its vision to drive inbound tourism. The Kingdom recorded an increase of 56% in the number of incoming tourists in 2023 compared to 2019, according to the World Tourism Barometer report issued by the United Nations in January 2024.

In March this year, Saudi Arabia announced it had recorded more than 100 million tourists, with 27 million being international visitors and 79 million domestic.

H.E. Ahmed Al-Khateeb, minister of tourism of Saudi Arabia and chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Tourism Authority, said: “This agreement offers enormous opportunities for Saudi Arabia and the UK to boost tourism and underlines the close relationship between the two countries. We are proud to have hosted more than 165,000 friends from Britain between January and March this year and to have welcomed 100 million visitors in 2023.

“We are developing remarkable projects that celebrate our unique culture and heritage as part of our US$800bn investment in the Saudi tourism industry, aiming for them to become as iconic as UK attractions like the Tower of London and Stonehenge, and we see limitless potential ahead to welcome visitors from Britain and around the world.”

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