Cruise ships operated by Saudi Arabia are to sail in the Red Sea for the first time as from 27 August, the Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) has announced. The cruises are part of the effort to boost the Kingdom’s attraction to foreign tourists.
“We aim to provide exceptional leisure tourism services on the Red Sea,” said the STA, “providing a wider array of options and raising awareness of the many natural and cultural treasures that lie along the Saudi Red Sea coast.”
The state-run Saudi Press Agency reported the announcement yesterday as part of the country’s “Break Free” summer season campaign, which was established to attract international tourists.
Although the Kingdom’s borders remain shut to international tourism due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Health will be coordinating with the STA and various tour operators to ensure the health and safety of the passengers and crews on the cruise ships.
Furthermore, the government launched its “Saudi Summer” campaign for citizens and residents in June by offering “staycation” packages in order to keep the domestic tourism industry afloat until the borders reopen. The authorities have also announced plans to pump $4 billion into the tourism development fund.
The sailing of Saudi-owned cruise ships in the Red Sea will coincide with the Kingdom’s construction of the $500 billion NEOM megacity on the coast, which is intended to be an independent economic zone to attract international business and technology companies.