Exciting changes are afoot in the Saudi Arabian online travel market with the government’s Vision 2030 plan which sets ambitious targets to diversify sources of income and reduce reliance on oil in the kingdom.
There are plans to open up inbound tourism to foreign travellers and boost domestic tourism and a target of 30 Haj/Umrah million pilgrims has been set for 2030. A string of mega projects is planned, including the $500 billion Red Sea coastline project, the Neom megacity, the entertainment, sports and cultural destination Qiddiya, and the luxury destination Amaala.
Abdullah bin Nasser Al-Dawood, group CEO of Al Tayar Travel Group: “We believe it will happen this year. We would be happy to welcome you.”
When I asked Abdullah bin Nasser Al-Dawood, group CEO of the kingdom’s leading travel company, Al Tayyar Travel Group, when I could visit his country as a tourist, he said, “We believe it will happen this year. We would be happy to welcome you.”
Al Tayyar Group itself announced a transformation plan in December 2017.
Al-Dawood said that Al Tayyar had moved from being a traditional player reliant on government corporate contracts to a company that’s investing in technology and talent to serve all travel segments including leisure and Haj and Umrah.
He said, “The government corporate segment is worth about 130-140b Saudi Riyal (SAR), and it’s about 10% of the total market. We were leading in this segment but we were reliant on it.
“What we did was we looked at all markets and saw all the exciting changes going on – the changes in the global travel market, agencies evolving from airline ticket suppliers to holiday advisers and online booking service providers and the Saudi market itself undergoing massive social and economic transformation and that travel will be a key beneficiary – and therefore we are undergoing strategic transformation to adjust to these changes.”
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