Visa, the world’s leader in digital payments, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) to collaborate and explore innovative initiatives that will enhance the visitor journey as well as promote Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector.
As part of the MoU, the two entities will set a framework for collaboration to build the first Tourism Data Lab in the region to provide data-driven insights into travel and tourism trends, enabling STA, Visa and all industry stakeholders to make informed decisions to support the Saudi government’s tourism ambitions.
Visa and STA will also explore opportunities to launch Visa’s digital payment solutions and exclusive packages to enhance the experience of Visa cardholders and tourists to Saudi. The packages for hassle-free payments and value deals will be finalised through consultation with relevant authorities with the goal of promoting the Saudi tourism sector.
The MoU was signed in Dubai at the Arabian Travel Market 2023, the leading global event for the inbound and outbound travel industry in the Middle East, by Walter Lironi, Visa SVP for Visa Consulting and Analytics for CEMEA, and Abdulkarim Aldarwish, President of MEA Markets at Saudi Tourism Authority.
Commenting on the partnership, Walter Lironi, Visa’s SVP for Visa Consulting and Analytics for CEMEA region, said: “Saudi Arabia is fast emerging as tourism hub with diverse and enriching experiences awaiting visitors. The industry is also a pivotal pillar in achieving the goals of Saudi Vision 2030 to diversify the economy and create new job opportunities. We are therefore pleased to enter into this partnership with STA to explore multiple pathways we can enhance the tourism experience of visitors to Saudi Arabia and support the government’s tourism ambitions.”
Abdulkarim Aldarwish, President of MEA Markets at Saudi Tourism Authority, said: “The agreement with Visa, the world leader in digital payments, confirms that the Saudi Tourism Authority is keen to enhance its capabilities by providing, exchanging and analyzing data as well as offering products and promotional package programs that improve the experience of tourists and attract more segments from the main markets in the region.”
The strategic collaboration will be powered by the world’s largest payments database, VisaNet, which provides a comprehensive wealth of data on inbound tourism and extensive insight into how governments can optimize their cashless strategy. The insights generated from the data include visitor journeys and spending behaviors across different categories, seasonality, digital adoption, and customer types, allowing for a holistic overview of how to create customer-centric payments experiences.