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Saudi Arabia in the News

Charting New Frontiers: Saudi Launches Largest Travel Campaign in China

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From left to right - Mr. Jin Lei, Deputy Director General of the Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism; Mr. Alhasan Aldabbagh, President of APAC Markets at the Saudi Tourism Authority – image courtesy of STA
Written by Linda Hohnholz

A campaign kicked off with a Saudi Tourism Exhibition at The Shanghai Bund followed by the launch of Saudi Experience Films, aiming to immerse Chinese travelers in the Kingdom’s rich culture, heritage, and diverse tourism offerings.

Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) recently launched the largest integrated travel campaign in China “Embark on a Journey of Discovery to Saudi” at the Shanghai Bund Waterfront. The event was attended by Jin Lei, Deputy Director General of the Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism, Alhasan Aldabbagh, President of APAC Markets including over 400 trade partners, media and influencers, and the Chinese public were invited to explore the rich and diverse tourism offerings of Saudi.

The campaign marks the largest integrated travel campaign launched by Saudi in China, starting with a week-long Saudi Tourism Exhibition, a celebration of Saudi’s culture, heritage, and natural beauty on the Shanghai Bund waterfront, from 17 to 23 November, inviting guests to experience mystical Saudi through immersive experiences, storytelling, and live performances. So far, the exhibition has welcomed over 80,000 visitors. 

In addition to the consumer marketing campaign, a series of Saudi experience films have launched on national TV and all major digital China platforms such as Ctrip, Huawei, Mafengwo, and Tencent, reaching and connecting with over five hundred million Chinese citizens.  The films intend to showcase the rich experiences Chinese travelers can look forward to upon visiting Saudi and is further available on VisitSaudi.CN website and STA’s social media channel.

“Embark on a Journey of Discovery to Saudi” Light Show Across the Huangpu Rive

Starting from November 17, destination experience videos were launched, enabling digital travelers to visit scenes such as a traditional Bedouin tent complete with camel caravans and stargazing; tour the historic Diriyah, Al Masmak Fortress, and the colorful Souk Al Zel; learn to create Arabian fragrances; fly over AlUla in a hot-air balloon; go on a cross-country adventure in a vintage Land Rover; and snorkel in the Red Sea.

Also, how-to tutorials in Mandarin will share information for visitors in anticipation of visits to the Kingdom, including cultural tips, understanding common gestures, wearing traditional Saudi attire, how to get an internet connection at the airport, and more. These videos aim to help Chinese tourists who may be unfamiliar with the region to plan their trips to Saudi seamlessly with ease and confidence.

Saudi Marketing Campaign Key Visual

Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO of the Saudi Tourism Authority, stated:

“That’s why we are absolutely thrilled to be launching our largest ever integrated travel campaign in the country – showcasing the diverse and unique wonders of the Kingdom to our Chinese friends.

“We have already welcomed more than 100,000 Chinese visitors so far in 2023 and our Vision 2030 ambition is to welcome five million travelers annually by 2030.

“We hope this inspiring new campaign will turbocharge these efforts and continue to drive the sector’s rapid growth.”

Alhasan Aldabbagh, President of APAC Markets at the Saudi Tourism Authority, said: “This campaign further solidifies our growing partnership with China, with Saudi recently granted Approved Destination Status and ongoing work to streamline our visa services including our new e-visa and visas on arrival – as well as work to expand air connectivity between our two countries.

“We are also continuing to work with our key leading trade partners to increase our existing offer of over 160 bespoke products to the Chinese market and have integrated Chinese payment solutions like Union Pay and AliPay+ to facilitate seamless payment for Chinese travelers.”

The destination campaign launched successfully on November 17 against the backdrop of Shanghai’s famous waterfront, with a dazzling light show on display. The launch further marked the opening of a Saudi Tourism Exhibition where visitors enjoyed the sights, sounds, and tastes of Saudi culture. In addition to traditional offerings of clothing and accessories, the exhibition also showcased the natural and historical attractions of Saudi through cultural shows and entertainment, including performances from actors in traditional attire and Bedouin storytellers.

Visitors were able to sample dates and coffee from different regions of Saudi and learn about its historical and cultural significance. Meanwhile, the immersive Valley Experience, designed to engage all five senses, took guests through the country’s rich past, vibrant present, and exciting future.

The campaign has already got off to a successful start, with the latest insight showing it has already reached more than 500m people in China with a 277% increase in bookings to Saudi.

Find out more about Saudi’s tourism offerings and view the experience videos and how-to tutorials on the Visit Saudi website and Saudi Tourism’s social media and mini program.