The Embassy of India — in collaboration with the Indian Consulate in Jeddah, India’s Ministry of Tourism, the Saudi Tourism Authority, the Trade Promotion Council of India and Saudi Arabia Business Network (SIBN) — organized a virtual discussion titled “Tourism Collaboration between India and Saudi Arabia” on Sunday.
Indian Ambassador Dr. Ausaf Sayeed delivered the keynote address in which he outlined the diverse types of tourism opportunities that India offers — adventure tourism, cultural tourism, medical and spiritual tourism, and scenic tourism.
He elaborated on the opportunities for Indian medical tourism in terms of traditional treatment along with allopathy. At the same time, he emphasized the traction gained by yoga in the Kingdom as a result of the agreement for yoga collaboration, which was recently signed with the Kingdom.
Sayeed sought facilitation from Saudi authorities in order to gradually ease the travel ban on India while also considering the options of health/vaccination certificates along with other coronavirus disease (COVID-19) safety protocols.
The ambassador praised the Kingdom’s effort to boost the post-pandemic tourism sector. He outlined the recently organized Tourism Revival Summit and the setting up of the Tourism Development Fund.
During the discussion, Augustus Simon, director, Indian Subcontinent at the Saudi Tourism Authority, underlined the focus of the Kingdom as part of the Vision 2030 tourism sector; he spotlighted key destinations and tourism projects such as NEOM, AMAALA and Qiddiya, among others.
The panelists discussed the existing memorandum of understanding in the tourism sector between India and Saudi Arabia in addition to the key areas for collaboration.
G. Kamala Vardhana Rao, chairman and managing director, India Tourism Development Corporation, Ministry of Tourism of India, also took part in the discussion and briefed the audience about opportunities for tourism in India as well as the post-pandemic business opportunities offered by the sector in the country.
Khaled Al-Aboodi, president of the SIBN Riyadh regional chapter; Ashok Sethi, director, Trade Promotion Council of India; Abdullah Saud Al-Twaijiri, corporate manager, ITL Saudi Arabia; and Ravi Gosain, vice president of the Indian Association of Tour Operators; also took part in the webinar.
The event witnessed participation from relevant Indian and Saudi government entities and tourism companies from both countries along with several Indian and Saudi nationals.