MADINAH — The e-commerce tour that the Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority (Monsha'at) organized in partnership with the Saudi E-Commerce Council, has so far attracted more than over 3,500 visitors, according to a senior official at the authority.

Mahmoud Mazi, General Manager of Retail at at Monsha'at, was speaking to Saudi Gazette on the sidelines of the e-commerce fourth stop, which is taking place in Madinah on October 9-10.

Mazi pointed out that during the tour's last three stops in Jeddah, Asir and Riyadh, over 46 companies and bodies introduced their business activities. Some 1,000 people attended the workshops, while more than 500 benefited from one-on-one counseling sessions with consultants, he added.

As for presentations in e-commerce, Mazi said there were more than 45 specialized events on the Mazaya platform, which is accessible to everyone.

One of the goals of the tour is to enhance direct communication with people interested in e-commerce in all regions of Saudi Arabia and connect them with each other, especially since the Kingdom is distinguished for a number of factors that characterize the sector.

Mazi pointed out that these factors include, among others, a young population, high spending habits, geographical location, and the excellent communications infrastructure and mobile networks, which help ease of access to online stores.

E-commerce will not eliminate traditional stores, rather it will be an additional means that enables merchants to reach their customers wherever they are,Mazi said, indicating that this method will contribute to the arrival of local products in abundance outside the geographical borders of Saudi Arabia in global electronic stores.

“Economically, e-commerce has made money move more,” Mazi said, noting that now everyone has a mall on their phone where they can buy all the items they need from all sectors.

When asked about the sector that has benefited most from e-commerce in Saudi Arabia, Mazi said it was the restaurant sector, especially after the entry of so many productive families into the catering business.

Additionally, cooperation from the authorities helped in keeping pace with new developments. For example, the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs recently started issuing licenses for cloud restaurants, which is the first precedent in the Gulf region, Mazi said.

E-commerce in Saudi Arabia still requires more features, he said, noting that they are working on this, especially with regard to tourism — as it is the largest in terms of profitability — as well as the Hajj and Umrah sector.

Mazi said Madinah, with its holy places and archaeological sites, offered a great opportunity for online tourism services.

Madinah’s geographical location is also distinctive as it is close to major projects in Saudi Arabia such as NEOM, AlUla, the Red Sea, and Amaala, Mazi said, adding that Madinah is one of the areas that have a huge presence of suppliers and entrepreneurs will find great opportunities there.

Madinah is the fourth stop of the e-commerce tour, which will move on to 10 more Saudi cities including: Jazan, Al-Ahsa, Khobar, Arar, Al-Qassim, Hail, Al-jouf, Tabuk, Najran and Al-Baha.

A group of experts and specialists in the field of e-commerce is participating in the tour, which aims to support the adoption of e-commerce in the activities of small and medium enterprises.

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