In recent years, Saudi Arabia has embarked on a transformative journey aimed at reshaping its economy, society, and global image. Led by ambitious visionaries and under the guidance of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Kingdom is undergoing unprecedented reforms to diversify its economy, empower its citizens, and position itself as a dynamic hub of innovation and progress.

At the heart of Saudi Arabia’s vision for the future lies Vision 2030, an ambitious blueprint for economic and social development. Launched in 2016, Vision 2030 outlines a bold agenda to reduce the Kingdom’s dependence on oil, stimulate private sector growth, and create new opportunities for its youthful population.

Central to Vision 2030 is the ambitious goal of diversifying the economy away from its traditional reliance on oil revenues. Through initiatives like the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program (NIDLP), the Kingdom aims to stimulate growth in key non-oil sectors such as manufacturing, tourism, and technology. By leveraging its strategic location, abundant natural resources, and burgeoning infrastructure, Saudi Arabia seeks to attract foreign investment and establish itself as a global economic powerhouse.

Moreover, Vision 2030 places a strong emphasis on human capital development and social empowerment. Initiatives such as the Quality-of-Life Program and the National Transformation Program (NTP) aim to enhance the well-being of Saudi citizens by investing in education, healthcare, and cultural initiatives. By empowering women, nurturing talent, and fostering a culture of innovation and creativity, Saudi Arabia seeks to unlock the full potential of its population and build a vibrant and inclusive society.

A young couple in Western dress stroll across the bridge leading toward the ruins of At Turaif, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A Visionary Journey towards a Flourishing Future

Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) unveiled a series of initiatives during its trade roadshow held at the Westin Kuala Lumpur recently with 18 Saudi stakeholders including DMCs, hotels, transportation partners and travel agents. This strategic move aims to unlock the leisure segment, reinforce Saudi’s commitment to Malaysian travelers and open Saudi’s doors to the world.

Marking a significant milestone in Saudi’s commitment to welcoming global visitors, aligning with Saudi’s Vision 2030 – which envisions welcoming 150 million annual visits by the end of the decade. Saudi has established itself as the fastest large growing destination by UNWTO as international arrivals increased by 156% compared to 2019.

It has become easier than ever to visit Saudi Arabia as Malaysia is among the 63 countries eligible for e-Visa program. Malaysian passport holders having UK, Schengen or US visit visas are also eligible for e-visa and visa on arrival. In addition, the recently launched 96-hour Stopover Visa grants visitors travelling with SAUDI and Flynas the opportunity to spend up to 96 hours in Saudi before continuing onward journeys, making Saudi the perfect stopover destination for Malaysian travelers.

Moreover, Saudi’s aviation sector serves as a key player and stands as a gateway to a rich cultural tapestry. In the past year alone, the airline capacity has increased to over 700,000 seats across three main carriers – Air Asia X, Malaysia Airlines, and SAUDIA with plans to further increase frequency to cater to the growing demand.

Three adventurous young men in Western dress drive their dune buggy under a natural geological archway
A group of paragliders descending towards the ground
Two diving boats of the shore or a small island in the Red Sea

Bags packed for Saudia!!

During the roadshow, Saudi Tourism Authority announced the unveiling of enhanced Umrah+ packages tailored specifically for Malaysian pilgrims. Accessible through the Nusuk platform, these packages simplify e-visa application processes and present curated experiences, inviting Malaysians to explore Saudi’s rich culture, historical treasures, diverse landscape, and exclusive events and festivals.

Offering a diverse tourism experience, catering to every traveler’s preference, be it in culture, heritage, or nature including:

Cultural exploration and historical wonders: Saudi stands as a treasure trove for exploration, boasting seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites and over 10,000 archaeological sites. Historical places like Historic Jeddah, At Turaif in Diriyah (birthplace of Saudi), and Al Hijr (Madain Salih) at AlUla offer a captivating journey through the country’s rich heritage.

Diverse offerings: Saudi emerges as a premier leisure destination globally, offering iconic locations such as VIA Riyadh and Bujairi Terrace. These landmarks contribute to Saudi’s allure, providing travellers with the perfect blend of cultural immersion.

A view of a courtyard at the Riyadh Boulevard


A man standing on a rock feature in the desert, shining his torch into the stary night sky

Exclusive events and festivals: Travelers can also enjoy events and festivals, including the vibrant Riyadh Season, the enchanting AlUla Skies Festival, and the magical Winter at Tantora. These occasions offer a unique blend of cultural celebrations and entertainment, providing travellers with unforgettable experiences.

Sounds exciting? Well, if you go by David Guetta‘s shout-out sharing his own amazing experience performing in Jeddah, here’s adding Saudia to our lifestyle bucket list of `must-experience’ destinations for 2024-25.

To find out more about Saudi’s tourism offerings, please visit the Visit Saudi website.

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