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While there is significant potential for Riyadh to reinforce its status as top corporate hotspot, as Bekhiet highlighted, the capital has much more to offer.

As well as noting that SCTH has launched programmes to enhance Riyadh’s entertainment appeal, he clarified, “I believe that promoting cultural tourism more would be very beneficial [...].”

Bekhiet pinpointed natural phenomena such as Edge of the World as leading sites in the Riyadh region that would appeal to travellers from around the world.

Alongside this, he underscored that the introduction of an online tourism visa could be the key to significantly boosting arrivals.

With domestic tourism a priority for SCTH, there have been a number of initiatives announced to increase the appeal of the capital, including a new cultural, sports and entertainment city, southwest of Riyadh, which will include a Six Flags theme park, among other attractions, and increase job opportunities for young people.

Daudin-Clavaud also recognised the importance of having an entertainment complex, while adding that festivals are certain to encourage visitors to the capital.

She continued to explain that there is also a need to beautify the city as well as tap into the ever expanding sports tourism segment which has seen exponential growth around the world.

However, the main priority for Riyadh is to bolster its position as a regional centre for MICE.

Bekhiet elaborated this point underscoring the continuous government efforts to drive MICE business and establish Riyadh as an important destination within the region for conferences and exhibitions.

Alongside this, a number of projects have added to the appeal of the capital, including the development of Riyadh Metro, scheduled to launch in 2019.

Moreover, Bekhiet identified major improvements to King Khalid International Airport, including an easier and facilitated arrival process and the opening of new terminals.

Ultimately, change is underway. When considering the number of hotel and tourism projects due to open in the coming years, along with SCTH’s dedication to developing an increasingly heterogeneous tourism industry, indeed, the future looks hopeful.