Britain’s national tourism agency VisitBritain and the Saudi Tourism Authority have today, 14 May, signed a Declaration of Intent, setting out areas of co-operation between Britain and Saudi Arabia to develop and grow tourism.

The Declaration, announced during GREAT FUTURES, a major trade expo being held in Riyadh by the UK Government’s GREAT campaign in partnership with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Government, was officially signed by VisitBritain CEO Patricia Yates and the CEO of the Saudi Tourism Authority Fahd Hamidaddin.

VisitBritain and the Saudi Tourism Authority will collaborate on sharing knowledge and expertise on both domestic and international tourism.

H.E. Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Tourism Authority, said:

“This agreement offers enormous opportunities for Saudi Arabia and UK to boost tourism and underlines the close relationship between the two countries. We are proud to have hosted more than 165,000 friends from Britain between January and March this year and to have welcomed 100 million visitors in 2023.

“We are developing remarkable projects that celebrate our unique culture and heritage as part of our $800 billion (£640 billion) investment in the Saudi tourism industry, aiming for them to become as iconic as UK attractions like the Tower of London and Stonehenge, and we see limitless potential ahead to welcome visitors from Britain and around the world.”

UK Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said:

“Our tourism industry is an integral part of what makes Britain so great, from our breathtaking landscapes and coastlines, to the treasure trove of heritage and culture to be found in our towns, villages and cities - all backed by a brilliant, dedicated workforce.           

“We’re committed to helping the sector keep growing from strength to strength and I’m delighted that VisitBritain has signed this agreement so we can share the UK’s invaluable expertise on tourism and gain key insights from our Saudi partners."

VisitBritain CEO Patricia Yates said:

“Visiting the UK is easier than ever for Saudi nationals with the roll-out of the Electronic Travel Authorisation Scheme and we are delighted to sign this Declaration with the Saudi Tourism Authority, collaborating to drive growth from tourism between our countries.

“Working with the Saudi Tourism Authority also builds on our wider engagement in Saudi Arabia, from our ongoing work with the travel trade to sell British destinations to our GREAT Britain marketing campaigns to inspire more Saudis to choose Britain for their next visit. We look forward to working with the Saudi Tourism Authority to boost our competitive tourism offer, bringing the best of Britain to Saudi visitors and harnessing the timely and valuable opportunities for growth.”

The signing of the Declaration of Intent was held as part of VisitBritain’s wider programme during GREAT FUTURES  including its Destination Showcase networking event with trade from Saudi Arabia, promoting British destinations and the latest tourism products and experiences on offer, broadening travel itineraries so Saudi visitors explore more of Britain’s nations and regions.

VisitBritain is also hosting and taking part in panel and roundtable discussions with Saudi counterparts at GREAT FUTURES, sharing insights and experience on topics ranging from promoting a country globally to developing destinations to spread growth from tourism. 

To inspire more Saudi visitors to book a trip to Britain, VisitBritain has recently rolled out the latest phase of its GREAT Britain marketing campaign in Saudi Arabia, showcasing the exciting experiences and destinations across Britain’s countryside, coast and vibrant cities. The advertising campaign ‘Spilling the Tea on GREAT Britain’ drives consumers to VisitBritain’s new Arabic website, inspiring visitors from the Kingdom to plan their travel to Britain in 2024 and signposting to the UK’s Electronic Travel Authorisation Scheme for Saudi nationals. 

VisitBritain is also working with partners in market including online travel marketplace Wego to convert the interest to visit Britain into bookings now.

Saudi Arabia is a very important visitor market for the UK. VisitBritain’s latest forecast predicts 240,000 visits from Saudi Arabia to the UK this year, up 9% on 2019. It is forecasting that visitors from Saudi Arabia will spend £752 million on their trips to the UK this year, up 20% on 2019.



GREAT FUTURES is a major business, tourism and cultural expo being held by the UK Government’s GREAT Britain and Northern Ireland campaign in partnership with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Government from 14-15 May in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The event launches a year-long campaign to drive business engagement between the UK and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 

For press inquiries, please contact:
Mirna Tamimi
Communications Manager, GCC
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About VisitBritain

VisitBritain is the British Tourist Authority (BTA), operating under the brand names VisitBritain and VisitEngland. As the national tourism agency, VisitBritain works to raise Britain’s profile, increase the volume and value of tourism exports and develop England’s visitor economy, working with organisations of all sizes and specialities.

VisitBritain is funded by the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and function as a non-departmental public body as established in the Development of Tourism Act 1969.

VisitBritain’s role is to deliver growth for the visitor economy, inspiring visitors to explore Britain now through tourism and events.

Collectively, VisitBritain is a trusted advisor to industry and to Government on the visitor economy, providing research and insights.