Saudi Tourism launches new global campaign with Lionel Messi as Ambassador, ET TravelWorld


<p>Lionel Messi and his family with Arabian horses in Diriyah.</p>
Lionel Messi and his family with Arabian horses in Diriyah.

The Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) has announced that country’s national tourism brand, “Saudi Welcome To Arabia,” has unveiled its latest global marketing campaign, featuring football legend Lionel Messi as the Saudi Tourism Ambassador.

The “Go Beyond What You Think” campaign, launched across key markets in Europe, India, and China, aims to dispel common misconceptions about the destination and invites audiences to explore the vibrant cultural transformation happening across Saudi Arabia. Using the hashtags #ShareYourSaudi and #السعودية_بعيونك (in Arabic), visitors and locals are encouraged to share positive experiences on social media platforms like TikTok.

This multi-channel campaign, spanning TV, social media, digital platforms, and online travel agencies, is part of Saudi Tourism’s efforts to promote cultural understanding and bridge cultures through tourism.

Building on the UN Tourism initiative “Tourism Opens Minds,” which encourages travellers to broaden their horizons, Messi, who has pledged his support to this initiative, features prominently in the campaign. Addressing misconceptions head-on, Messi’s hero video challenges outdated stereotypes about Saudi Arabia, showcasing its diverse landscapes, activities, and attractions.

From the pristine waters of the Red Sea to the snow-covered mountains of Tabuk, the campaign highlights Saudi’s rich cultural heritage and modern attractions, including the Diriyah E-Prix, Riyadh Season, and AlUla’s hot air balloon flights. It also celebrates Saudi women who are trailblazers in various fields, symbolising the country’s cultural transformation.

UNWTO rebrands to “UN Tourism”

“Bringing the world closer” is the new tagline that inspires the concept of a Pangea shaping a human figure in action. Beyond the symbol, the rebrand also includes a revamp of the entire visual system, which is now based on a grid of geographical coordinates meant to help people navigate the brand’s touchpoints, such as events, website, reports, social media channels and campaigns.

With over 17,000 events planned for the Winter Season, including the Saudi Cup, Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, and AlUla Arts Festival, Saudi Arabia aims to position itself as the world’s most happening winter destination. The campaign coincides with Messi’s return to Saudi Arabia for matches with his current club, Inter Miami, against Al Nassr and Al Hilal.For travellers, visiting Saudi Arabia has never been easier, thanks to various visa initiatives, including the eVisa program, GCC residents visa, and the free 96-hour Stopover Visa, which includes a complimentary one-night hotel stay when booked with SAUDIA, the national carrier.

  • Published On Jan 29, 2024 at 12:06 PM IST

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