Visa and Saudi Tourism Authority sign MoU at Arabian Travel Market 2023

Visa and Saudi Tourism Authority sign MoU at Arabian Travel Market 2023

By Press Release, 02 May 2023

Dubai, UAE – Visa (NYSE: V), the world’s leader in digital payments, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) to collaborate and explore innovative initiatives that will enhance the visitor journey as well as promote Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector.

As part of the MoU, the two entities will set a framework for collaboration to build the first Tourism Data Lab in the region to provide data-driven insights into travel and tourism trends, enabling STA, Visa and all industry stakeholders to make informed decisions to support the Saudi government’s tourism ambitions.

Related Video: The 3 Key Stakeholders Driving Tourism In Saudi Arabia

Visa and STA will also explore opportunities to launch Visa’s digital payment solutions and exclusive packages to enhance the experience of Visa cardholders and tourists to Saudi. The packages for hassle-free payments and value deals will be finalised through consultation with relevant authorities with the goal of promoting the Saudi tourism sector.

The MoU was signed in Dubai at the Arabian Travel Market 2023, the leading global event for the inbound and outbound travel industry in the Middle East, by Walter Lironi, Visa SVP for Visa Consulting and Analytics for CEMEA, and Abdulkarim Aldarwish, President of MEA Markets at Saudi Tourism Authority.

Commenting on the partnership, Walter Lironi, Visa’s SVP for Visa Consulting and Analytics for CEMEA region, said: “Saudi Arabia is fast emerging as tourism hub with diverse and enriching experiences awaiting visitors. The industry is also a pivotal pillar in achieving the goals of Saudi Vision 2030 to diversify the economy and create new job opportunities. We are therefore pleased to enter into this partnership with STA to explore multiple pathways we can enhance the tourism experience of visitors to Saudi Arabia and support the government’s tourism ambitions.”

Abdulkarim Aldarwish, President of MEA Markets at Saudi Tourism Authority, said: “The agreement with Visa, the world leader in digital payments, confirms that the Saudi Tourism Authority is keen to enhance its capabilities by providing, exchanging and analyzing data as well as offering products and promotional package programs that improve the experience of tourists and attract more segments from the main markets in the region.”

The strategic collaboration will be powered by the world’s largest payments database, VisaNet, which provides a comprehensive wealth of data on inbound tourism and extensive insight into how governments can optimize their cashless strategy. The insights generated from the data include visitor journeys and spending behaviors across different categories, seasonality, digital adoption, and customer types, allowing for a holistic overview of how to create customer-centric payments experiences.

Read Next: Sitting Down with the Saudi Tourism Authority

About Visa Inc.

Visa (NYSE: V) is a world leader in digital payments, facilitating transactions between consumers, merchants, financial institutions and government entities across more than 200 countries and territories. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, convenient, reliable and secure payments network, enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. We believe that economies that include everyone everywhere, uplift everyone everywhere and see access as foundational to the future of money movement. 

About Saudi Tourism Authority

STA was established in 2020 to support the growth of the travel and tourism sector by serving the needs of tourism companies and other commercial partners.

It is the entity responsible for promoting global tourism to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, developing tourist experiences, launching tourism products and packages, supporting and activating the role of the private sector, and participating in local and international exhibitions and conferences. The authority has 16 representative offices covering 38 countries around the world. The authority manages the official identity for Saudi tourism, "Welcome to Arabia".

For more information, please visit the Authority's websites:,

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