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Saudi's AlUla chases more domestic tourists with airline deal

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  • Saudi's AlUla chases more domestic tourists with airline deal

    Royal Commission for AlUla and Saudi flag carrier Saudia ink agreement to promote historic tourist destination

    The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) and Saudi flag carrier Saudia have signed an agreement to boost domestic tourism at the historic destination.

    The SR4 million memorandum of understanding includes joint marketing and promotional activity to ensure AlUla becomes a year-round attraction for Saudi residents in 2021.
    International flights to and from the Gulf kingdom are currently suspended due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and will resume in late March.

    The partnership follows the launch of AlUla’s first-ever destination brand campaign, The World’s Masterpiece, which runs through to April and is targeted at Saudi and GCC markets.

    Saudia is the only carrier providing scheduled services to Al Ula and offers eight-times-weekly flights from Jeddah, Dammam and Riyadh.

    The partnership will include co-branded outdoor and digital marketing in Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam, in-flight entertainment, promotions through Saudia’s Alfursan loyalty program, airport and ticket office branding and the promotion of AlUla packages through Saudia Holidays.

    Melanie de Souza, executive director marketing, RCU, said: "Saudia is a key partner for AlUla as we open the destination for first domestic and then international tourism when flights resume."

    While phase one of the campaign is about winning the hearts and minds of Saudi audiences, de Souza said the next phase will be more tactical.

    "We need to establish AlUla as a destination that is open all year round with our heritage sites and select adventure and nature activity being available through summer and spring. With Saudia’s partnership and support we will communicate this through a multi-channel program,’ added de Souza.

    Located 1,100km from Riyadh in north-west Saudi Arabia, AlUla ncludes a lush oasis valley, towering sandstone mountains and ancient cultural heritage sites dating back thousands of years to when the Lihyan and Nabataean kingdoms reigned.

    The most well-known and recognised site in AlUla is Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. A 52-hectare ancient city, Hegra was the principal southern city of the Nabataean Kingdom and is comprised of more than 100 well preserved tombs with elaborate facades cut out of the sandstone outcrops surrounding the walled urban settlement.

    Current research also suggests Hegra was the most southern outpost of the Roman Empire after conquering the Nabataeans in 106 CE.