His Excellency Mr. Ahmed Al Khateeb
Assistant Minister for Tourism
JEDDAH, 10 June 2022
The Saudi Ministry of Tourism and Saudi Toursim Authority has announced the creation of NFT (non-fungible token) souvenirs, in a move that reflects the Kingdom’s advancement in digital tourism. His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb, Minster of Tourism of Saudi Arabia BoD Chairman of the Saudi Tourism Authority presented the personalized digital mementos in a first of its kind initiative to the heads of delegations participating in the 116th session of the Executive Council of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in Jeddah, as a token of appreciation for their visit to the Kingdom.
Through NFTs, creators can tokenize real-world objects such as art, music, audio recordings, and an endless list of collectibles. With their ownership stored on the blockchain, this innovative technology allows some of the world’s most exciting new artworks to have a unique digital existence. The Ministry’s groundbreaking souvenirs blend the physical world and the metaverse, which is an immersive virtual reality world with a simulated digital environment that uses augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), blockchain, as well as digital media elements for social interactions.
On the sidelines of the event, a virtual reality art show was held where an artist painted a collection of stunning 3D landscapes inspired by Saudi landmarks that exist within the virtual world. These paintings were then converted into NFTs and gifted to the guests along with a ledger wallet that provides an address on the blockchain to access their exclusively owned artworks.
His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb, Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia, said the NFT souvenirs embody the leadership’s vision for the future of the Kingdom. “As technology advances, it is important that we remain at the forefront of innovation. Our tourism infrastructure is designed to embrace new trends, and digital transformation is one of our top priorities. The NFTs serve as a bold statement to the world that Saudi Arabia is developing an unparalleled tourism sector where travelers can expect to see and experience unique and futuristic offerings.”
“We are delighted that our guests will get to take home a digital manifestation of their unforgettable moments spent here in the Kingdom’s most exciting touristic landmarks,” added His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb, Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia has made great strides in digital transformation and is striving to drive the growth of its digital economy in line with the directives of Vision 2030. In keeping with its commitment to contributing to these goals, the Ministry of Tourism launched a three-year Digital Tourism Strategy earlier this year. With the aim of accelerating the sector’s growth, creating new jobs, and spurring innovation, the strategy focuses on nine innovative programs consisting of 31 core initiatives. These programs will boost the Kingdom’s National Tourism Strategy and Vision 2030 targets, including 100 million new visits, the tourism sector’s 10 percent GDP contribution and 1 million new tourism jobs.