London, UNITED KINGDOM
A highlight of this November’s World Travel Market (WTM) in London was a series of keynote sessions about how the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia intends to attract 100 million visits a year while doing so in a sustainable way.
As CEO of the Kingdom’s national flag carrier, SAUDIA, Captain Ibrahim S. Koshy participated in one of these sessions, where he outlined how SAUDIA is supporting the Kingdom’s ambitious tourism growth plans.
Moderated by BBC presenter Samantha Simmonds, the panel, titled “Expanding the Saudi Tourism Ecosystem”, took place at 1455 on Tuesday November 2nd at the WTM Global Stage
The panel took place as the Kingdom’s Minister of Tourism, Ahmed Al Khateeb announced a $1 trillion investment in tourism over the next decade that will result in the creation of 260,000 jobs.
Following SAUDIA being crowned ‘the World’s Most Improved Airline of 2021’ by Skytrax, Captain Koshy showed how SAUDIA has innovated to help the Kingdom drastically increase the number of visits it welcomes annually.
Captain Koshy was joined by Fawaz Farooqi Managing Director of Cruise Saudi and Husameddin S. Almadani CEO of Soudah Development.
“Over the next decade, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is destined to become one of the world’s most exciting tourism destinations”, said SAUDIA CEO Captain Koshy.
“The Kingdom will be an example of how to build a completely new tourism infrastructure from the ground up and attract large numbers of visits while keeping environmental impact as a prime consideration.
“With our 75-year history as the national airline of the Kingdom, we are perfectly positioned to be a critical enabler in helping our country realise this vision”, said Captain Koshy.
“Consequently, we have undertaken a significant transformation of our core service offering, including cabin crew service and training, food & beverage, in-flight entertainment and more.
“The recent recognition by Skytrax [of being the World’s Most Improved Airline of 2021] demonstrates our commitment to offering superior service in the region. We will continue innovating in parallel with the Kingdom’s flourishing tourism industry. SAUDIA, the national flag carrier is focused on the mission of providing an air link to connect the world to Saudi Arabia, and being the wings of the nation’s Vision 2030.”
At World Travel Market, Captain Koshy said that the SAUDIA group would be expanding from 91 stations in 2019, to 200 stations with new destinations being opened up all the time, for most recently for example South Korea and Vietnam.
Embracing and celebrating ‘naturally generous’ Saudi hospitality
This is the second time in four years that SAUDIA has been recognized as the world’s most improved airline. The most recent service enhancements have been done with the aim of embracing and celebrating the idea of “naturally generous” Saudi hospitality.
These include the introduction of a SAUDIA ambassador, who will greet first- and business-class passengers and escort them to the airline’s lounges at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah and King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, as well as provide information on available upgrade and flight times.
Meanwhile onboard, simple measures like Lifebuoy-powered hygiene kits for all and warm towel service for Economy Class passengers, elevates the overall customer experience.
SAUDIA has been a regular participant at World Travel Market and this year exhibited within the Saudi Tourism Authority’s Global Display.