USTOA Partners With Saudi Tourism Authority

The United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) has partnered with Saudi Tourism Authority to boost awareness and increase travelers to Saudi Arabia by educating tour operator members of the commitment the Saudi government is making to sustainable tourism development.

According to USTOA President and CEO Terry Dale, the timing couldn’t be better as results from USTOA’s 2022 Economic Impact Study by PricewaterhouseCoopers placed Saudi Arabia among the top 10 “off-the-beaten-path" countries, a first for the Middle Eastern destination. “It's exciting to see a culturally diverse country like Saudi Arabia break through as one of the top 10 emerging destinations for 2023, especially as the government is making strides to welcome American travelers in the coming years,” said Dale.

To understand current knowledge of and business to Saudi and the Middle East, USTOA surveyed Active Member Tour Operators in June 2022. The research revealed that 84 percent of respondents offer programs to multiple destination in the Middle East and cited a growing opportunity to build business in Saudi Arabia, especially for adventurous, high-end travelers. USTOA active members noted that education is vital to strengthen awareness of tourism in Saudi.

Saudi Tourism Authority is leading the tourism efforts in hopes to drive exponential growth of the destination as a travel destination since its opening in 2019. Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 is built on a foundation of committing to tourism infrastructure within the country.

Hotel developments with sustainable focuses are at the heart of tourism growth to bring in new visitors and establish jobs in the tourism sector. Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Development Project is an upcoming luxury destination that will provide adventurous visitors with the opportunity to experience the archipelago of more than 90 islands, sweeping deserts, and beautiful natural landscapes. Hotels within the Red Sea Development are dedicated to preserving conservation of the surrounding environment by providing sea protections and renewable energy on its properties.

According to the USTOA Active Member survey, points of interest of Saudi Arabia as a travel destination include its rich culture, beautiful natural landscapes, diverse and high-end experiences, and iconic sites. USTOA hosted a select group of members to experience the authentic encounters in Saudi Arabia in October of 2022.

During the discovery trip, attendees explored culture and cuisine in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site in AlUla, learned where ancient and modern meet in Jeddah, and more. “To a person, our tour operator members on the trip were surprised at the rate of positive change and the visible investment in tourism currently underway that will encourage visitors to spend more time exploring the culture and multitude of Saudi Arabian experiences,” said Dale.

United States residents can now apply for the e-visa process when visiting Saudi Arabia in a quick online process. Applicants are eligible to apply for a single or multiple-entry e-visa to enter for tourism purposes and discover the authentic hospitality of Saudi Arabia.

The PwC Economic Impact survey was conducted between August 18 and October 3, 2022 with a 92 percent participation rate of USTOA Active Tour Operator Members. For more information on USTOA, visit

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