RIYADH: US-based destination marketing company Beverly Hills Conference & Visitors Bureau is exploring partnerships in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East to create and develop tourist-friendly locations.
Speaking to Arab News in Riyadh, Julie Wagner, CEO of BHCVB, said: “We are here to see all the new developments in Riyadh, as Saudi Arabia has been making a lot of inroads in creating a tourism-friendly destination.”
Wagner has found many new luxury developments in the capital modeled on opulent projects developed in Beverly Hills, prompting her to say: “We came here because people understand what’s going on in Beverly Hills, and the region certainly knows who we are.”
A byword for elegance and glamor, Beverly Hills has long been the destination for discerning travelers from the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia.
Wagner is also bullish on luxury travel in the Kingdom and its ongoing cultural and economic transformation.
“The ability to customize luxury is very important because many cultures have different lifestyles. So, you must focus on each of their lifestyles every step of the way and create experiences that are relevant to them,” she added.
But she stressed the most crucial part of destination marketing is respecting the host country’s culture.
“There must be a fine line when travelers come to a destination. For instance, when I come to visit Riyadh, I have to honor the things here, and that’s part of why I like to come here because there are so many things that are very different from where I am, and I want to experience those things and be a part of that,” she said.
The company has partnered with the region’s leading experts to curate a luxury travel forum in Riyadh to bring tourism thought leaders and facilitate networking opportunities.
The capital city is also set to witness a surge in hotels due to an increase in big-ticket sporting and entertainment events to be hosted in the metropolis, including the flagship Riyadh Expo 2030.
In a sign of the sector’s growth, Riyadh Season 2022, the state-sponsored annual entertainment and sports festival, hosted 10 million visitors in less than three months of its launch on Oct. 21 last year.
The city has also been a sought-after destination for major events such as formula car racing and WWE wrestling matches, besides hosting the seven-side FIFA Club World Cup in December 2023 and the Asian Games in 2034.