The Saudi Tourism Authority and Switzerland Tourism have signed a strategic memorandum of understanding.
The MoU, the first of its kind between the two country’s tourism boards, is aimed at encouraging mutual promotion and collaborative tourism projects between Saudi Arabia and Switzerland.
A key aspect of this partnership is the identification of joint marketing initiatives to showcase the attractions of each country. Priority will be given to specialised tourism sectors such as sun and sea, culture and heritage, and rural tourism, through combined marketing efforts.
This aim is to boost the visibility and appeal of both Saudi and Switzerland as premier tourist destinations.
The Saudi Tourism Authority and Switzerland Tourism will jointly organise events, exhibitions, and conferences in both nations.
Additionally, STA said that it will work alongside Switzerland Tourism “to harness the latest technology in the industry to foster a more seamless travel journey for visitors, leveraging innovations to help build a tailored end-to-end visitor experience.” It said that the latest agreement would also drive increased cooperation between local tourism agencies and operators on both sides.
Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO and a member of the board of the Saudi Tourism Authority, said, “Last year, Saudi saw an 84 per cent increase in the number of visits from Switzerland and this new agreement will help build on that progress – with increased collaboration unlocking valuable opportunities for growth in both countries. We are thrilled to embark on this historic collaborative journey with Switzerland Tourism, which is the first of its kind between Saudi and any tourism board.”
Switzerland is incorporated into Saudi’s e-Visa programme, which also accommodates Schengen, US, and UK visa holders, facilitating increased access to Saudi.
Livio Goetz, director GCC at Switzerland Tourism adds, “Saudi Arabia holds immense importance as a key market for ST, being the largest market within the GCC. Notably, 40 per cent of all overnight stays in the GCC are generated from Saudi Arabia. To bolster its presence and appeal to Saudi guests, ST has new dedicated representative based in Riyadh. This strategic initiative aims to enhance the proximity and visibility of Switzerland as a premier holiday destination. Saudi travellers, contributing 300,000 hotel nights annually (2022) exhibit a record average daily spending of CHF420.”
At present, there are three weekly flights from Geneva to Riyadh, with a capacity of 330 seats, and four weekly flights from Geneva to Jeddah with 564 seats. Zurich meanwhile is connected to Riyadh with three weekly flights offering more than 300 seats.