Britain’s national tourism body VisitBritain has opened a new office in Riyadh to attract more visitors from Saudi Arabia to the UK, making it the first Western tourism board to establish a presence in the country.
The announcement, which was made at a press event at the residence of the British ambassador to Saudi Arabia Simon Collis, includes the appointment of Saudi national Badr Almandeel as VisitBritain country representative.
Collis said: “The appointment of Badr Almandeel to head VisitBritain’s in-country operations builds on a century of strong trade and cultural relations.
“Every year Britain welcomes more and more Saudis in the UK with thousands visiting on business, for tourism or to study.
“I would strongly encourage Saudis to go and see for themselves everything that the UK has to offer.”
The appointment follows the development of a partnership with Al Tayyar Travel Group Holding Company which includes a campaign to promote London, Manchester and Edinburgh.
VisitBritain chief executive Sally Balcombe said: “The new office in Riyadh will see us engage more effectively with potential visitors to Britain, converting aspiration to visit into bookings and inspiring more Saudi Arabians to book a trip now to come and explore our nations and regions.
“And with the UK offering excellent value at the moment, particularly for luxury goods, it is a great time to come to Britain.”
The campaign will offer exclusive summer family travel packages to the UK and will offer Saudi travellers an exclusive upgrade to their visa processing through UK Visa and Immigration.
As of the end of January 2017, Britain was 14 per cent cheaper for visitors from Saudi Arabia compared with the same month in 2016.
Visitors from Saudi Arabia are some of the UK’s highest spenders, spending on average £3,769 per visit, more than six times the average for all markets.
They also stay longer than other international visitors with an average length of stay of 18 nights, compared to an average of 8 nights for all markets.