A&K establishes DMC in Saudi Arabia

Luxury travel company planning own lodges across the Kingdom

Abercrombie & Kent (A&K) has expanded its global destination management company (DMC) network to include the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – a location earmarked for huge new tourism developments.

A&K is not only putting ‘feet on the ground’ in Saudi Arabia, but plans are afoot for the luxury travel company to develop its own collection of luxury lodges across the country, the first of which could open next year in 2022.

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“Saudi Arabia is an exciting, and emerging, destination, closed to much of the outside world until recently. The extraordinary carved temples of Madain Saleh, known as the second Petra, are a highlight and AlUla, the vast open-air museum located on the ancient incense route, is simply astonishing,” A&K said.

Hegra, AlUla, Saudi Arabia

“Cosmopolitan Riyadh, Jubbah’s sophisticated rock art and Jeddah’s World Heritage coral architecture all add up to reveal an exclusive glimpse of a realm veiled in secrecy,” Abercrombie & Kent said.

Earlier this year A&K Founder and Co-chairman, Geoffrey Kent, said the kingdom was an exciting new destination for his firm’s market of affluent travellers looking for somewhere different to visit.

“From our perspective I’m wildly enthusiastic. Always have been about Saudi,” Travel Weekly UK reported Kent saying.

“Since the 70s, nothing has changed. It’s stayed the same over time. I have travelled everywhere, to 158 countries, and for me and my guests this is something new,” he said.

“I will actually lead one or two trips this year…with my people to really show them what Saudi has to offer. Then word of mouth will do the rest,” Kent added.

Mountain top view of AlUla, Saudi Arabia

No detail has been supplied as yet on where specifically in Saudi Arabia A&K plan to open their own luxury lodges, or under which brand – potentially under the Sanctuary Lodges, Camps and Boats sister-brand, or if under the mainstay which also operates Exclusive Desert Camps.

Abercrombie & Kent offers an 8-day ‘Saudi Arabia: Desert Kingdoms’ – A Limited Edition Small Group Journey with departures scheduled for 2022/23. Prices start from $12,650 per person twin share.

A&K has over 55 DMC’s across the world in more than 30 countries – making it the world’s largest network of luxury DMC’s.

One of the many varied landscapes of Saudi Arabia

Saudi tourism projects in the pipeline

Saudi Arabia is a destination set to boom in terms of tourism, with the opening up of historic AlUla to foreign visitors – last week Saudi carrier Flynas launched the first international flights into AlUla International Airport from Dubai – and multiple other mass tourism projects in the pipeline for the Kingdom.

They include the gargantuan, yet sustainably focussed Red Sea Project on the Saudi Arabian Coast. Last month, The Red Sea Development Company revealed the first 9 of 16 luxury hotel and resort brands for phase one of the project which includes Raffles, Six Senses, St. Regis, EDITION and Jumeirah. It is proposed to launch from 2023 and be completed by 2030 as part of Saudi’s Vision 2030.

The first nine properties and their location as part of The Red Sea Project | Credit: The Red Sea Development Company/Facebook

Another project in Saudi Arabia is NEOM, billed as “one of the last places on Earth waiting to be explored”. NEOM’s Tourism Sector Head is Andrew McEvoy, the former Managing Director of Tourism Australia and South Australia Tourism Commission. McEvoy is leading the creation of what NEOM says will be “the world’s most ambitious destination development – where diverse natural habitats and a rich untold heritage story meets the tourism of tomorrow.”

Locally, The Walshe Group is representing AlUla. Find out more about the destination here.

Images featured courtesy of AlUla, unless otherwise noted.

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