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Power Letters 2020: Abdullah Al-Dawood, board member and group CEO of Seera Group

Power Letters 2020: Abdullah Al-Dawood, board member and group CEO of Seera Group

“The kingdom’s tourism strategy is backed by astonishing infrastructure investments to the tune of $1.1trillion over the next 20 years”

A landmark year – that was 2019 for Seera Group, as we transformed ourselves, organisation-wide under our new corporate identity and marked an ambitious expansion into new services, including the launch of our dedicated destination management company, Discover Saudi.

Our transformational growth is part of a bigger narrative – that of the evolution of Saudi Arabia as one of the world’s newest and fastest-growing tourism destinations following structural reforms including the issuance of e-visas and tourist visas for citizens of 49 countries.

Delivering the goals of Saudi Vision 2030 to strengthen the tourism sector – both inbound international and domestic, the kingdom’s tourism strategy is backed by astonishing infrastructure investments to the tune of $1.1 trillion over the next 20 years in addition to over $64bn being spent on entertainment attractions.

For Seera Group, as a travel and tourism company in the kingdom with a heritage of over 40 years, this is an unprecedented opportunity to offer a definitive window to the world for global visitors to experience Saudi Arabia’s natural attractions and innovative new leisure choices.

As the kingdom opened for tourism, we have positioned ourselves at the vanguard to drive the sector’s growth and achieve the goals of welcoming 100 million annual visitors by 2030 in addition to strengthening the contribution of the tourism sector to 10 per cent of the GDP from current levels of 3 per cent.

Therefore, 2020 starts on a very promising note for Seera Group, the kingdom’s tourism sector and for the industry at large, as we focus on our three-pronged strategy of delivering world-class destination management services, strengthening our portfolio of mid-value hospitality offering to over 6,000 rooms by 2025 to meet the aspirations of the new generation of travellers, and creating a talent pool of Saudi youth, enabling them to build promising careers in the industry.

A key driver of our growth is our investment in technology and in our talent. We are continuing to build our team, currently at over 4,000 travel and tourism professionals. This is underlined by Almosafer Academy, which we launched to enhance Saudi national capabilities, and Jadarah, which offers a combination of training, mentorship and on-the-job experience to diversify the capabilities of Arab youth.

On the technology front, we are the first-mover in deploying the latest solutions and have achieved 82 per cent CAGR in the past three years in building our online presence. Today, we account for 58 per cent of the kingdom’s online travel agency (OTA) market.

Backed by an investment of SAR1bn, including SAR500m for Discover Saudi, we are building a robust ecosystem for tourism and hospitality services in the kingdom. Through our diversified portfolio covering travel management (Elaa), consumer travel (Almosafer and Tajawal), Hajj and Umrah (Mawasim), destination management (Discover Saudi), car rental (Lumi), and hospitality and corporate ventures, we are firmly placed to define a new era of growth for the tourism and travel industry.

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