afaqs! news bureau

Saudi Tourism's brand 'Saudi Welcome to Arabia' launches a campaign with Lionel Messi

Saudi’s national tourism brand ‘Saudi Welcome To Arabia’ has launched a global marketing campaign featuring football player and Saudi Tourism ambassador, Lionel Messi.

Launching across key target markets in Europe, India and China, the Go Beyond What You Think campaign is anchored on consumer insights, which revealed there are still common misconceptions about the destination, and invites audiences to experience the vibrant cultural transformation taking place across Saudi.

The latest ‘Saudi Welcome to Arabia’ brand campaign is a combination of TV, social, digital, and OTA tactics activated over a three-month period. It is the latest in a series of initiatives by Saudi Tourism to foster broadening of perspectives, and bridging cultures through tourism.

Addressing the misconceptions head-on, the campaign’s call-to-action encourages visitors to discover the unexpected beyond outdated stereotypes, with a hero video featuring Messi breaking down metaphorical ‘walls’ of various misconceptions about the country.

The video showcases Saudi’s diverse locations, weather and terrain – from the pristine waters of the Red Sea to the lush green mountains in Aseer, snow covered Tabuk, the coastal city of Jeddah and Riyadh, the bustling capital. In celebration of Saudi’s activities and attractions, the Messi campaign highlights the Diriyah E-Prix, Riyadh Season’s theme park rides, AlUla’s hot air balloon flights and MDL Beast music events.

It also places a spotlight on Saudi’s open and welcoming culture and the importance of inspiring young Saudi women to reach their full potential. Messi celebrates the Saudi women who have been trailblazers in their fields and leading Saudi’s cultural transformation such as the Saudi Women’s National football team, motorsport athlete Dania Akeel, DJ Cosmicat, and Rayyanah Barnawi, the first Saudi woman in space.

The campaign brings to life the UN Tourism, Tourism Opens Minds initiative that launched on World Tourism Day in Riyadh in September 2023.

It is launching ahead of Messi’s Saudi return playing two matches with his current Club, Inter Miami, against Al Nassr on February 1 and against Al Hilal on January 29.

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