Cruise Saudi, the cruise promotion arm of Saudi Arabia’s tourism authority, has joined the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) as part of its efforts to position the country as a cruise destination.
Cruise Saudi’s membership of the World Travel & Tourism Council comes just weeks after it became a member of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), which represents the global cruise industry.
In a statement, Cruise Saudi said that joining the Council will enable it to “shine a spotlight on the year-round potential of the Saudi market to tour operators, travel agents and cruise lines”.
WTTC advocates for the development of the travel and tourism sector as a driver of sustainable economic growth, while Saudi Arabia this year opened up to cruise lines for the first time.
It has already secured a five-year cruise commitment from MSC Cruises, with MSC Bellissima homeporting in Jeddah and sailing roundtrip cruises in the Red Sea. The boutique luxury cruise ship Scenic Eclipse has also been calling in Saudi Arabia on cruises out of Egypt.
“Our membership of WTTC is another important step in fulfilling Saudi Arabia’s plans to become a new pillar for the global cruise industry,” said Fawaz Farooqui, Managing Director of Cruise Saudi.
“We have an unparalleled blend of cultural, historical and natural attractions that will appeal to a wide range of travelers from around the world, and we have begun to develop genuinely world-class infrastructure that has enabled us to start welcoming them,” he added.
Saudi Arabia has already redeveloped the Jeddah ferry terminal into a cruise terminal and has announced plans for the development of a brand-new cruise terminal that will be able to accommodate more ships and passengers.
Cruise Saudi has also signed agreements with several leading global cruise operators to bring their ships to Saudi waters, but has not yet released more details.
“Through WTTC, we seek to alert the global cruise industry not only to the unique attractions of our country but also to its ability to provide exceptional, seamless and, most importantly, safe tourist services,” said Farooqui.
Julia Simpson, President & CEO of WTTC said the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia represented huge potential for future cruise growth.
“We are delighted to be welcoming Cruise Saudi as a new member of the World Travel & Tourism Council,” she said. “With awe-inspiring cities and stunning landscapes, it is easy to understand why the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is becoming more and more popular each year.”