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Lionel Messi Stars in Saudi Arabia Tourism Campaign

The Football Legend Launches "Go Beyond What You Think Campaign" as a tourism Ambassador for the Kingdom.

By Inc.Arabia Staff
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KSA launches a new campaign to promote tourism featuring the legendary football star Lionel Messi as the Saudi Tourism Ambassador. 

Launching across key target markets in Europe, India, and China, the “Go Beyond What You Think”  campaign targets changing travelers' misconceptions and stereotypes about the destination, and invites audiences to be open to new experiences in the changing dynamic cultural transformation taking place across Saudi Arabia. 

The campaign invites participants to share positive experiences and memories on social networks using the hashtag #ShareYourSaudi.

The latest ‘Saudi Welcome to Arabia’ brand campaign is a three-month long campaign with a combination of TV, Social, and digital. 

A creative campaign swept social media with a video featuring Messi breaking down metaphorical ‘walls’ of various misconceptions about Saudi Arabia.

The video showcases Saudi’s diverse locations, weather, and nature variety, from the harsh endless Desert, rock formations, and icy mountains to the pristine waters of the Red Sea, and 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.

The campaign also spotlight Saudi’s open and welcoming culture and the importance of inspiring young Saudi women to reach their full potential. The media campaign tries to break through stereotypes about Saudi as a hot Desert destination only and invites people to share their pictures and videos of the diverse weather and nature of Saudi Arabia. Something that attracted a lot of interactions online and a lot of people posted beautiful Red Sea pictures, and snowy mountain videos as well.

In the campaign, Messi is seen celebrating Saudi women who have become stars in their fields in sports or space and led 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. Something that was both hailed and criticized on social media. Some saw this as a great way to break against stereotypes and celebrate Saudi Arabia's achievements and others saw it as sports washing despite activists' criticism of the regime's human rights violations.  

The hashtag  #ShareYourSaudi has been trending for two days, with pictures and videos showcasing the kingdom’s captivating Red Sea and mountains, sports and music activities and events, and fond memories from Saudi Arabians inside or outside the kingdom. 

This creative campaign is part of KSA's 2030 vision which encourages new tourism development and growth through travel experiences, embracing sustainability and enabling world-class culture, entertainment, and sports scenes to flourish.

The kingdom expects this winter season to go beyond the traditional Umrah and cater to different experiences including hosting exciting music, culture, and sports events. This year, the country is hosting 17,000 events, making it 'the world's most happening winter'. Ongoing events include Riyadh Season, Jeddah Season, and Diriyah Season, with notable events coming up including the Saudi Cup (February 23-24), Saudi Arabian Grand Prix (March 7-9), AlUla Arts Festival (Feb 9-March 2), AlUla skies festival (April 10-27) and much more.

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

Click here for more information about Lionel Messi and the “Go Beyond What You Think" campaign. 

KSA also launched a new online visa program now including 63 countries and special administrative regions, the GCC residents visa, and a free 96-hour Stopover Visa.

Stopover Visa holders are eligible for a complimentary one-night hotel stay during the stopover when booking with the national carrier, SAUDIA. Travelers can use the Stopover Visa to explore Saudi and perform Umrah.

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