Saudi Tourism Authority and Unionpay International Take a Major Step in Facilitating Chinese Visitors Experience
The 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.