Intrepid Launches Women-Only Saudi Arabia Tour

Intrepid Travel has launched a 12-day “Saudi Arabia Women’s Expedition” led by female leaders and guides, aiming to showcase a side of the country beyond the luxury resorts and high-end offerings. The tour is designed to offer a "transformative" experience while empowering women and supporting female-owned businesses in the destination. Starting in Riyadh and finishing in Jeddah, groups will stay in a female-owned boutique hotel, heritage property and desert camp, directly supporting nine female-owned and operated businesses.

Experiences include a sunrise visit to the Nabataean site of Hegra guided by a local rawee, or storyteller, and the opportunity to meet two sisters running a local citrus farm near AlUla to sample their produce over lunch. Travelers will also visit Madinah, the second holiest site in Islam after Mecca, with a local female guide.

With an itinerary designed to foster connection between women from different backgrounds, the trip includes several visits to women’s homes and female-only spaces, putting equal focus on the host communities as it does the travelers. Other trip highlights include:

  • A bullet train ride to Jeddah to explore Al Balad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with Saudi’s first female guide
  • A visit to a female-owned, female-only salon, and chatting with the locals to learn how these types of businesses have created opportunities for the women who live there
  • A visit to an abaya shop to learn how women are modernizing this staple piece
  • A Red Sea cruise, snorkeling, swimming and a barbecue lunch before ending the day on a private female-only beach

While Saudi Arabia remains an extremely conservative society, ranking low on the World Economic Forum’s “Global Gender Gap Index,” women have acquired certain freedoms in recent years. With women now representing 30 percent of the tourism and hospitality workforce, Intrepid felt there was an opportunity to create a product that would both allow travelers to see the country through the eyes of local women and support efforts towards female empowerment.

A limited run of five departures, each with a maximum of 12 travelers, will start on November 26, 2024. 

The “Women’s Expedition” product range was launched in 2018 with the aim of breaking down the cultural barriers of traditional tourism. With the addition of Saudi Arabia, the product range now features seven itineraries including Morocco, Pakistan, Nepal and India.

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