The Saudi Tourism Authority has joined forces with Alibaba Cloud, the technology arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, to boost the tourism sector in the kingdom.
The tie-up aims to create a "seamless experience" for Chinese tourists coming to Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s biggest economy, according to a state-run Saudi Press Agency report.
Alibaba Cloud will also offer technical support to STA as it promotes the kingdom as a tourist destination for residents of the world's most populous nation.
“As Saudi [Arabia] continues to develop its leisure tourism offering for local, regional and international audiences, STA is building a digital infrastructure which can provide the destination with a competitive edge and visitors with the best possible experience,” Fahd Hamidaddin, STA’s chief executive, said in a statement to SPA.
“By collaborating with Alibaba Cloud, we will break new ground in the regional tourism sector and position Saudi at the forefront of efforts to modernise the wider global tourism eco-system,” he said.
Tourism development is an important pillar in Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, which aims to diversify the kingdom's economy and reduce its reliance on oil.
Riyadh wants to boost the tourism sector’s contribution to the country's gross domestic production to 5.3 per cent by 2022 and create 836,000 new jobs in the sector. Over the long term, the kingdom plans the sector to account for more than 10 per cent of its economy and create more than a million new jobs by 2030.
Under the new pact, Alibaba Cloud will use "advanced, secure and reliable" cloud services to create an "improved digital experience for Chinese tourists".
“This collaboration brings together two key actors in the tourism sector who can set a new standard for providing a travel experience like no other,” said Selina Yuan, general manager of international business at Alibaba Cloud, SPA reported.
“With Alibaba Cloud leading the digital transformation of tourism and Saudi’s unique destinations, this is a combination that will help to re-invigorate the tourism sector.”