Saudi Tourism Authority enhancing commitment to Malaysia

SAUDI Tourism Authority (STA) unveiled a series of initiatives during its trade roadshow held in Kuala Lumpur recently, involving 18 Saudi stakeholders including destination management companies, hotels, transportation partners and travel agents – “to unlock the leisure segment, reinforce Saudi’s commitment to Malaysian travellers and open Saudi’s doors to the world”.

It marked a significant milestone in Saudi Arabia’s commitment to welcoming global visitors, aligning with its “Saudi’s Vision 2030”, which envisions welcoming 150 million annual visits by the end of the decade.

$!Diriyah, the birthplace of the first Saudi state and a Unesco heritage site.

The kingdom has established itself as the fastest large growing destination by United Nations World Tourism Organization as international arrivals increased by 156% compared to 2019.

STA stated that it has become easier than ever to visit Saudi Arabia as Malaysia is among the 63 countries eligible for e-Visa program. Malaysian passport holders having UK, Schengen or US visit visas are also eligible for e-visa and visa on arrival. “In addition, the recently-launched 96-hour Stopover Visa grants visitors travelling with airlines Saudia and Flynas the opportunity to spend up to 96 hours in Saudi before continuing onward journeys.

$!Riyadh festival.

“Moreover, Saudi’s aviation sector serves as a key player and stands as a gateway to a rich cultural tapestry. In the past year alone, the airline capacity has increased to over 700,000 seats across three main carriers – Air Asia X, Malaysia Airlines and Saudia with plans to further increase frequency to cater to the growing demand.”

During the roadshow, Saudi Tourism Authority announced the unveiling of enhanced Umrah+ packages tailored specifically for Malaysian pilgrims. Accessible through the “Nusuk” platform, these packages simplify e-visa application processes and present curated experiences, inviting Malaysians to explore Saudi’s rich culture, historical treasures, diverse landscape, and exclusive events and festivals.

The Nusuk platform is the first-ever official planning, booking and experience platform, “to create your Hajj or Umrah itinerary to Makkah, Madina and beyond”.

$!Al-Ula, a Unesco World Heritage Site.

STA further added that Saudi Arabia offers a diverse tourism experience, catering to every Malaysian traveller’s preference, be it in culture, heritage, or nature including:

- Cultural exploration and historical wonders: “Saudi stands as a treasure trove for exploration, boasting seven Unesco World Heritage Sites and over 10,000 archaeological sites. Historical places like Historic Jeddah, At Turaif in Diriyah (birthplace of Saudi), and Al Hijr (Madain Salih) at AlUla offer a captivating journey through the country’s rich heritage.”

- Diverse offerings: “Saudi emerges as a premier leisure destination globally, offering iconic locations such as VIA Riyadh and Bujairi Terrace. These landmarks contribute to Saudi’s allure, providing travellers with the perfect blend of cultural immersion.”

- Exclusive events and festivals: “Travelers can also enjoy events and festivals, including the vibrant Riyadh Season, the enchanting AlUla Skies Festival, and the magical winter at Tantora. These occasions offer a unique blend of cultural celebrations and entertainment, providing travellers with unforgettable experiences.”

$!Participants at the STA recent roadshow in Kuala Lumpur.

“To find out more about Saudi’s tourism offerings, please visit the Visit Saudi website at https://www.visitsaudi.com/en .”

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