Last week, Saudi inspired collaboration and partner commitment at the world’s leading travel trade show, ITB Berlin. Celebrating the incredible success of its inaugural participation, Saudi unlocked new opportunities for growth with global and European partners.
The Saudi stand was recognized for its world-class presence, taking home the awards for both ‘best exhibitor’ for Best of the Best with a criteria focused on attractiveness, authenticity and benefits for trade visitors and ‘best exhibitor’ for the Near/Middle East for its five senses experience, metaverse and sustainable catering.
As part of Saudi’s participation, His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb met with major travel trade entities such as TUI, and FTI and welcomed Ministers, Presidents, CEOs and global tourism leaders from the UNWTO and WTTC to the Saudi stand. A landmark agreement was signed by the Saudi Ministry of Tourism and the UNWTO, prioritizing people through the power of e-learning.
Saudi achieved incredible commercial engagement with partners focused on the European and German markets, signing 11 strategic partnership agreements with some of the world’s largest travel companies and top vertically integrated German operators including Expedia, FTI, DER Touristik, Hotel Beds and others.
Saudi’s Nusuk platform brought new life to spiritual travel at ITB Berlin with Umrah-focused tour operator meetings hosting more than 45 attendees. The stand also brought the history, culture and stories of Makkah and Madinah to visitors through a beautiful, immersive VR experience.
Saudi Tourism CEO Fahd Hamidaddin hosted the “Saudi Partner Talks” on-stand with Martina Groenegres, Managing Director, Lufthansa City Center International and Markus Orth, Lufthansa City Centre Regional, moderated by German travel TV presenter Kai Boecking, which focused on how partners use international networks to drive business.
Throughout the event, Saudi welcomed visitors with authentic Arabian hospitality and brought Saudi’s rich culture and heritage to life through immersive experiences including a ‘Savour Saudi’ date and coffee tasting session hosted by an expert from the National Centre for Palms and Dates.
Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO and Member of the Board of Saudi Tourism Authority said:
“Saudi tourism witnessed unprecedented success at this year’s ITB Berlin. Our vision and ambition is unrivalled and as we position the country as the tourism destination powerhouse of the region, we continue to unlock opportunities for our partners locally and internationally.”
“We gained deeper insight into the German and European markets, their desire for sun and sea products and a rich culture and heritage offering and we are working hard to cater to this demand through milestone openings on the Red Sea this year and the success of projects including Bujairi Terrace which has already welcomed more than 700,000 viitors. Our Nusuk platform also received strong demand from partners as the German market is recognizing the untapped potential of the unique Umrah spiritual travel segment.”
“Our partners are growing with us and we are committed to investing in them and in the sector, towards a shared future as we tap into the immense potential in the market.”
Markus Orth, Managing Director, Lufthansa City Center Regional, said: “We see great potential for the future in our cooperation with Saudi Arabia. It is a new, fascinating destination with seemingly endless facets, which is now taking the opportunity to focus on a sustainable future in tourism. With the mass of cultural sites, the new high-quality resorts at the Red Sea and many upcoming events, the destination offers everything it needs for an exciting round trip. We are looking forward to a strong strategic partnership with Saudi Arabia.”
Norbert Fiebig, President, DRV said: “The signing of the MOU between Saudi Tourism Authority and German Travel Association DRV will further strengthen the bond between our countries. We believe that by collaborating, we can boost travel between Saudi Arabia and Germany, bringing our people together. This will surely benefit mutual understanding, respect and friendship”.
Since opening to tourism in 2019, Saudi has been recognized as the world’s fastest-growing tourism destination in the G20. With an extraordinary +121% increase from pre-pandemic international tourism levels, Saudi achieved 93.5 million visits in 2022 and is outpacing global tourism sector recovery as recognized by the UNWTO. As the world’s biggest investor in tourism, Saudi has committed $550bn to new destinations by 2030 and is reimagining tourism to welcome 100 million visits by 2030.
The country is an under-discovered destination with a rich cultural heritage brought to life through Diriyah, the 300-year-old city and birthplace of Saudi, and an emerging destination for sun seekers and yachting holidays with the opening of Red Sea assets this year. In Jeddah, visitors can explore Jeddah’s historical district, Al Balad and the traditional Hijazi style houses or go diving in one of the top diving and snorkeling destinations in the Red Sea.