The Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) has unveiled a new campaign, entitled Saudi Summer, to encourage residents to explore the kingdom this year. The decision comes as the country bans international visitors from making the Islamic pilgrimage, or Hajj, this year in a bid to control coronavirus.
Running until the end of September, it is promoting ten locations across the nation – Jeddah and KAEC; Abha; Tabuk; Khobar, Dammam and Ahsa; Al Baha; Al Taif; Yanbu and Umluj and Riyadh.
Only a very limited number of people currently living in the kingdom may take part, an announcement on state media said. An estimated two million people would otherwise have visited Mecca and Medina this summer for the annual gathering.
Instead, authorities hope Saudis will travel domestically this year in lieu of a holiday abroad. The campaign launch follows research by STA, revealing that 57% of Saudi residents are concerned about travelling on holiday by plane, but 85% are still planning to take a break of around ten days this year. Some 78% expressed curiosity in exploring their country.
“Saudi Summer comes as a wonderful opportunity to discover multiple tourist destinations in Saudi Arabia, alongside its historical, natural and cultural treasures. The campaign also contributes to enhancing efforts by the ministry of tourism to revive the tourism sector, which was most affected by the repercussions of the Covid-19 crisis,” said Ahmed Al Khateeb, minister of tourism for Saudi Arabia.