The Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) and JCB International Co Ltd (JCB), a credit card company based in Tokyo, Japan, signed a significant Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 15 October 2023 with the goal of promoting tourism in Saudi Arabia among JCB cardmembers worldwide.
This milestone agreement marks a pivotal moment in the partnership between the two entities.
Alhasan Aldabbagh, president of Asia Pacific markets at the STA), expressed his enthusiasm for this collaboration, emphasising its potential to benefit the tourism industry in Saudi Arabia.
He highlighted the increased convenience, familiarity and security it would offer to Japanese travellers and other Asian tourists who prefer cashless payment methods.
The partnership is expected to make Saudi Arabia more appealing to international visitors, aligning with the nation’s vision of becoming a leading global tourism hub.
Unlocking Saudi-Japan co-operation
The partnership is not limited to enhanced payment options, but it is poised to unlock further opportunities for co-operation between Saudi Arabia and Japan.
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Japan is among the 57 countries eligible for Saudi’s e-visa and visa on arrival, with special perks such as a free one-night hotel stay for tourists continuing their journey on SAUDIA [the Saudi national airline] as part of Saudi’s 96-hour Stopover Visa programme.
The collaboration also includes the creation of a VisitSaudi.ja portal in Japanese, joint marketing campaigns with travel trade partners and special hotel offers from local destination management companies, all designed to encourage Japanese holidaymakers to explore Saudi Arabia.
Enhancing tourism and cultural exchange
Yoshiki Kaneko, president and CEO of JCB, expressed his excitement about this partnership, underscoring its potential to offer remarkable travel experiences to Saudi Arabia for JCB cardmembers.
He highlighted the unique natures of both Japan and Saudi Arabia, both countries that possess natural beauty, rich culture and a deep historical heritage.
JCB has been working closely with leading local banks in Saudi Arabia including SNB, Alinma Bank, Riyad Bank, ANB and Bank Al Jazira, to ensure that their 154 million card members have a seamless experience in the country.
This historic agreement is expected to play a pivotal role in advancing tourism, facilitating travel and promoting greater cultural exchange between Saudi Arabia and Japan.