Lionel Messi brings star power to Saudi Tourism’s new campaign

Saudi’s national tourism brand Saudi Welcome To Arabia has kicked off another global marketing campaign featuring football legend and Saudi Tourism Ambassador, Lionel Messi.

The Go Beyond What You Think campaign will launch across key target markets in Europe, India and China.

Lionel Messi and his family with Arabian horses in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia

The campaign is anchored on consumer insights, which revealed there are still common misconceptions about the destination – it invites audiences to experience the vibrant cultural transformation taking place across Saudi and share their experiences on social media.

The campaign brings to life the UN Tourism Tourism Opens Minds initiative that launched on World Tourism Day in Riyadh in September 2023.

As one of many leading international figures who took that pledge, Messi has a fond connection with Saudi having visited the country frequently, and most recently with his wife and two children. Both Messi and his family have expressed delight in their Saudi experiences and a desire to continue visiting the country.

Boldly addressing these misconceptions head-on, the campaign’s powerful call-to-action encourages visitors to discover the unexpected beyond outdated stereotypes, with a video featuring Messi breaking down metaphorical ‘walls’ of various misconceptions about the country.

The video showcases Saudi’s diverse locations, weather and terrain, as well as highlights attractions such as the Diriyah E-Prix, Riyadh Season’s theme park rides, AlUla’s hot air balloon flights and MDL Beast music events.

The campaign also places a spotlight on Saudi’s open and welcoming culture and the importance of inspiring young Saudi women to reach their full potential.

During its sunny winter season, the country is host to ongoing events like Riyadh Season, Jeddah Season and Diriyah Season, with notable events coming up including the Saudi Cup in February, Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in March, AlUla Arts Festival in February/March, AlUla skies festival in April, and more.

Saudi’s eVisa programme now includes 63 countries and special administrative regions, the GCC residents visa, and the free 96-hour Stopover Visa, making it easier for travellers to visit the destination.

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