Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday that it will host, for the first time, the 22nd edition of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit, which will be attended by a prestigious gathering of tourism leaders.
The event will feature a metaverse experience created for potential investors to explore opportunities and take part in some of the sessions that will be livestreamed from the Saudi capital.
Held under the slogan, “Travel for a Better Future”, this year’s Global Summit will bring together investors from around the world to discuss the pressing issues affecting the post-pandemic travel and tourism sector.
A press release noted that the use of the metaverse at the Summit was “a practical example of how the Kingdom is already implementing its pioneering three-year Digital Tourism Strategy that was launched in 2022 as the next step in its development of the sector.”
The statement said that over the next three years, Saudi Arabia plans to encourage experimentation to allow technology innovators to test new digital tourism solutions, to support tourism related extended reality applications and to incorporate technology that makes Hajj visits safer and more efficient than ever for millions of pilgrims. The use of this technology at the Summit is another important step along that road.
Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Tourism, Ahmad Al Khateeb said: “WTTC will be held in Riyadh as tourism enters a new era of recovery… We welcome the world to join us virtually in our metaverse.”
He continued: “Bringing together global leaders from both the public and private sectors, the summit will be fundamental in building the better, brighter future the sector deserves and technology and innovation will be key to our collective future success.”
Saudi Arabia has already started investing in tourism plans that promote innovation, most notably the NEOM city, which has become the most ambitious tourism project in the world. This future city, which is being developed in the northwest of the Kingdom, will be a global showcase for pioneering design and exciting digital experiences, featuring smart cities and research areas.