Wego, the largest online travel marketplace in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) have announced a strategic partnership to inspire Middle East holidaymakers to visit Saudi Arabia after more than a year of hiatus.
Saudi Arabia has been recognized globally for its response to the pandemic and was among the first countries to implement early and unprecedented precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
Through our platform, Wego said, we saw a 1,700% increase in flight searches from Saudi to the UAE, just days after the announcement of flight resumptions in early September 2021.
Wego and Saudi Tourism Authority will collaborate to drive tourist traffic and visitation from the region to Saudi Arabia’s bustling cities of Riyadh and Jeddah and its endless sand dunes, mountain peaks and desert oases as well as its thriving Red Sea coastline.
Mamoun Hmedan, chief commercial officer and managing director, MENA and India, Wego, said: "We're excited to embark on this partnership with the Saudi Tourism Authority. This new collaboration reflects our commitment to boost tourism in the region, to a destination that is unlike anywhere in the world.
“Since the date of the flight resumption announcement to Saudi Arabia, we keep seeing a strong demand for the flight and hotel searches and bookings to the country from the region. Around 4 million flight searches were recorded on our platform in October 2021."
The current top destinations dominating searches to Saudi Arabia from the MENA region are Egypt, UAE, Kuwait, Jordan and Oman.
Our data shows that around 65% of people are searching for a short stay around 3 days. Solos are dominating the type of travelers searching for flights with 76%, followed by families and couples.
Ahmed Elbahr, director Middle East & Africa, Saudi Tourism Authority, said: "As we continue to expand and grow our presence, not only in the region but also internationally, the Middle East and Africa will continue to be one of the most important priority source markets for Saudi Arabia."
"Saudi Arabia is on a journey to building a leading global destination and partnerships play a critical role in increasing awareness and driving conversion so that more travelers are able to experience Saudi's unique culture and heritage, untouched natural landscape and abundance of entertainment offerings."
Saudi Arabia has launched extraordinary tourism campaigns and put great efforts to showcase its hidden gems.
In October, the highly anticipated Riyadh Seasons, the largest lifestyle event in the world kicked-off, with 13 family-friendly zones, 7,500 events and hundreds of restaurants around the city, taking its place as a compelling reason to visit the country.
According to reports, Saudi Arabia has administered more than 47 million vaccine doses, with over 60 percent of the population fully vaccinated.
Travelers who are fully vaccinated with Saudi and WHO-approved vaccines will be allowed to enter the country without the need for an institutional quarantine period.
Saudi Arabia has approved 9 COVID-19 vaccinations for entry: AstraZeneca, Covishield, SK Bioscience, Vaxzevria, Pfizer-BioNTech, Comirnaty Moderna, Spikevax and Johnson & Johnson.
Tourists will also have to carry a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test taken within the last 72 hours and register their details with health authorities.