• Agreement will drive co-operation to promote Saudi as a leading tourism destination amongst global Chinese travellers and UnionPay cardholders

Riyadh: – Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) has taken a significant step forward by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with leading global payment services provider UnionPay International. The agreement will support the development and strengthening of Saudi’s positioning as a tourism destination for UnionPay cardholders from China and around the world as Saudi drives forward its ambition to welcome even more Chinese visitors to the authentic home of Arabia.

The MoU aims to enhance Saudi’s comparative advantage in attracting Chinese travellers to the country with STA and UnionPay International promoting Saudi as a UnionPay-friendly destination for the global Chinese community. UnionPay already has extensive partnerships with banks in Saudi, including Al Rajhi, SNB, Al Inma, Riyad, and are actively expanding with the acceptance rate of UnionPay cards in Saudi expected to increase to more than 70% by the end of 2022.

Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO and Member of the Board at Saudi Tourism Authority, said, "Today’s announcement is another significant step in our journey to position Saudi as a leading global tourism destination for the Chinese traveller. As Saudi accelerates its China-readiness program across the different visitor touchpoints, this exceptional partnership will ensure Saudi is top-of mind for Chinese travellers and UnionPay cardholders wanting to explore and experience the authentic home of Arabia.”

James Yang, Head of UnionPay International Middle East, said, “This signing is an important part of UnionPay’s internationalization strategy, and we hope that through continuous and in-depth cooperation, we can drive the development of tourism in Saudi. Together with Saudi Tourism Authority, we are creating opportunities for growth and creating greater convenience for our Chinese and global UnionPay cardholders.”

UnionPay has accelerated its regional business in recent years, to better meet the needs between China and the Middle East. At present, 11 countries and regions in the Middle East accept UnionPay cards.

Saudi has ambitious plans for the tourism sector and aims to be a top-5 global tourism destination by 2030. China is a key source market for Saudi Tourism and one of 49 countries eligible for tourist eVisas. By 2030, China is forecast to be Saudi’s largest source market for international visits from Asia Pacific.


For more information or to connect with an STA spokesperson please reach out to sta@consulum.com.

About Saudi Tourism Authority

Saudi Tourism Authority (STA), launched in June 2020, is responsible for marketing Saudi’s tourism destinations worldwide and developing the destination’s offering through programs, packages and business support. Its mandate includes developing the country’s unique assets and destinations, hosting and participating in industry events, and promoting Saudi’s destination brand locally and overseas. STA operates 16 representative offices around the world, serving 38 countries.

About UnionPay International

UnionPay International (UPI) is focused on the growth and support of UnionPay's global business. In partnership with more than 2500 institutions worldwide, UnionPay International has enabled card acceptance in 181 countries and regions with issuance in 77 countries and regions. UnionPay International provides high quality, cost effective and secure cross-border payment services to the world's largest cardholder base and ensures convenient local services to a growing number of global UnionPay cardholders and merchants.