Visa, the digital payments firm, has partnered with the Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) to explore innovative initiatives that will enhance the Saudi tourism sector and improve the visitor journey.
As part of the agreement, the two entities will also work to establish the first Tourism Data Lab in the region. The lab will provide data-driven insights into travel and tourism trends, enabling STA, Visa and industry stakeholders to make informed decisions in support of the Saudi government’s tourism ambitions.
The two entities will also explore opportunities to offer digital payment solutions for tourists and launch exclusive Visa cardholder packages to enhance the experience of tourists visiting Saudi. The packages will provide hassle-free payments as well as value deals to promote the Saudi tourism sector, and the authorities will finalise the packages through consultation with relevant stakeholders.
The STA and Visa signed a MoU during Arabian Travel Market 2023, the global event for inbound and outbound travel in the Middle East. Walter Lironi, Visa’s SVP for Visa Consulting and analytics for CEMEA, and Abdulkarim Aldarwish, president of MEA markets at Saudi Tourism Authority, signed the agreement.
VisaNet, the payments database, will power the strategic partnership, providing a comprehensive wealth of data on inbound tourism and extensive insights into how governments can optimise their cashless strategy.
The database generates insights into visitor journeys and spending behaviours across different categories, seasonality, digital adoption, and customer types, allowing for a holistic overview of how to create customer-centric payments experiences.
Commenting on the collaboration, Lironi said: “Saudi Arabia is fast emerging as a tourism hub with diverse and enriching experiences awaiting visitors. We are pleased to enter into this partnership with STA to explore multiple pathways we can enhance the tourism experience of visitors to Saudi Arabia and support the government’s tourism ambitions.”
Aldarwish also commented on the partnership, stating that “the agreement with Visa confirms that the Saudi Tourism Authority is keen to enhance its capabilities by providing, exchanging and analysing data, as well as offering products and promotional package programs that improve the experience of tourists and attract more segments from the main markets in the region.”