Launched in January 2021 at the Future Investment Initiative (FII), Cruise Saudi has made rapid progress in its mission to bring cruise tourism to Saudi Arabia as a new component of the country’s tourism plan outlined in the landmark Vision 2030 program.
Developments so far, include the opening of a cruise terminal at Jeddah Islamic Port, and agreements with several cruise operators to bring their ships to Saudi waters. MSC Bellissima and Scenic Eclipse, have both been sailing the Saudi coastline during the summer season.
Joining the WTTC will allow Cruise Saudi to better shine a spotlight on the year-round potential of the Saudi market to tour operators, travel agents and cruise lines, in addition to sourcing key data on international travel trends and learning from the best practitioners in the global cruise sector.
Among the list of tourist attractions accessible from Red Sea ports is the UNESCO World Heritage sites of AlUla, with its towering Nabatean monuments and sweeping desert landscapes, and the old town of Jeddah, the unspoiled beaches of Al Wajh and abandoned Hijazi houses of Yanbu.
Fawaz Farooqui, managing director of Cruise Saudi, said: ‘Our membership of WTTC is another important step in fulfilling Saudi Arabia’s plans to become a new pillar for the global cruise industry. We have an unparalleled blend of cultural, historical and natural attractions that will appeal to a wide range of travelers from around the world, and we have begun to develop genuinely world-class infrastructure that has enabled us to start welcoming them.’
He added: ‘Saudi Arabia is committed to building a sustainable, environmentally conscious tourism industry in line with the goals of Vision 2030, and we look forward to collaborating with the WTTC on these efforts in the coming months and years.’
Julia Simpson, President & CEO WTTC said: ‘The Saudi Travel & Tourism sector will be critical to powering the country’s economy once COVID-19 has been combatted, and we look forward to working closely with Cruise Saudi, and continuing our work with the government, to ensure a swift recovery of this fast-growing sector.’