ITB India names Saudi official partner country

MUMBAI, 25 March 2021: The Saudi Tourism Authority and ITB India have announced Saudi as the Official Partner Country of ITB India 2021.

The inaugural ITB India Virtual Event, being held 7 to 9 April 2021, is an annual B2B trade show and conference curated to build a bridge to the Indian and South Asian travel market.

STA is focused on developing partnerships with travel trade partners around the world to expand the reach of Saudi’s tourism offer and to drive conversion in key source markets.

“The Saudi Tourism Authority is building a global community dedicated to driving awareness of Saudi as a unique tourism destination offering authentic Arabian experiences to cultural explorers from around the world,” said STA chief executive officer Fahd Hamidaddin.

“The destination’s wealth of heritage sites, its dynamic urban centres and the warm hospitality of the Saudi people make it a compelling destination for travellers seeking the new, unexpected stories that make a journey truly memorable.”

As the Official Partner Country of ITB India, Saudi Tourism Authority will showcase an array of current tourism offerings and destination highlights as well as the exciting new developments on the horizon. Tourism is a strategic industry for the future of Saudi Arabian, and the country is the world’s largest investor in sustainable tourism infrastructure and offerings.

Projects such as the Red Sea and Amaala are setting new global standards in the development and management of tourism in harmony with the natural world. And new sites like AlUla and Diriyah are offering visitors hitherto unexplored insight into the rich cultural history of Arabia.

ITB India attendees will have an opportunity to visit the Saudi Tourism Authority’s digital exhibition booth and arrange one-on-one meetings with STA representatives to learn more about the destination.

The other side of the coin

Not everyone will agree with ITB”s choice of country partner. Saudi Arabia human rights record is patchy, to say the least, and conveniently ignored by international corporations and some western governments in the pursuit of commercial interests. Travellers have a voice through social media and can choose where to go based on a country’s human rights performance. They will note that the NGO, Human Rights Watch, is critical of Saudi Arabia in its World Report 2021. It alleges “authorities failed to hold high-level officials accountable for suspected involvement in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

“Through 2020, the Saudi-led coalition continued a military campaign against the Houthi rebel group in Yemen that has included scores of unlawful airstrikes that have killed and wounded thousands of civilians.

“Saudi Arabia has no written laws concerning sexual orientation or gender identity, but judges use principles of uncodified Islamic law to sanction people suspected of committing sexual relations outside marriage, including adultery, extramarital, and homosexual sex.”

About ITB India 2021 Virtual Event

ITB India 2021 Virtual Event will take place digitally from 7 to 9 April 2021. It will be hosted on ITB Community in Asia (ITB Community). In its first year, ITB India will be organised by Messe Berlin (Singapore). The three-day business-to-business travel trade show and convention will focus on the Indian travel market, including MICE, corporate, leisure and travel technology sectors. Exhibitors from every sector of the industry, including travel agencies and operators, NTOs, business travel and MICE, travel technology, accommodation, and transport companies, are all expected to attend.

About Saudi Tourism Authority

Saudi Tourism Authority (STA), launched in June 2020, is responsible for marketing Saudi Arabia’s tourism destinations worldwide and developing the Kingdom’s offering through programs, packages and business support. Its mandate ranges from developing the country’s unique assets and destinations to hosting and participating in industry events and promoting Saudi Arabia’s tourism brand locally and overseas.


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