JEDDAH: The 10th edition of the Jeddah International Travel and Tourism Exhibition (JTTX) began on Wednesday in Jeddah. Organizers said that the “increase in the diversity of nationalities attending the event” shows how interest in tourism to and from the Kingdom is increasing.
Organizer Bandar Khalid, who studies travel, tourism and hospitality management at Jeddah College of Technology, said that what makes this year’s exhibition different is the number of new travel agencies participating.
“Indonesia made a strong entrance to this exhibition this year, many of the travel booths here are from Indonesia; they are working very hard. It’s a strong year for them and I hope they reach their goal.
“Visitors from different nationalities came to the exhibition, from Turkey, Russia, the Philippines, the US, India, even South Korea,” he added. “It is very different from last year, when there were very few different nationalities. The introduction of the travel visa has made it easier for everyone to attend this exhibition.”
The Kingdom’s recently relaxed visa rules will help to eliminate negative stereotypes about Saudi Arabia, he claimed. “Finally, people from outside the Kingdom can come visit and explore, learn about the culture and what makes it special. They will see that we are human just like them and hopefully tackle the misconception that we are terrorists, and stop making racist comments. They can see for themselves that it is the opposite of what they had in mind. They will see that we are modern and advanced.”
Ryan Van Der Merwe, senior visa consultant at One Visa World, told Arab News that tourism between South Africa and the Kingdom has increased since the implementation of the Saudi tourist visa.
“I think us being here at this event showcases all of the advantages of coming here and the good relationship between the two countries, and should help increase business and open up (new) opportunities,” he added.