The Saudi Tourism Authority has officially announced it on Twitter: the Kingdom's new travel ambassador is none other than Paris Saint-Germain footballer Lionel Messi!
The Argentine star landed at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah to inaugurate his new role. The Saudi Minister of Tourism, Ahmed Al-Khateeb himself put an end to speculation about why he was coming to Saudi Arabia by posting his excitement on social media: “I am happy to welcome Lionel Messi to Saudi Arabia. We look forward to showing you the treasures of the Red Sea, the season of Jeddah and our ancient history. This is not his first visit to the Kingdom and it won’t be his last.”
— الهيئة السعودية للسياحة (@SaudiTourism) May 9, 2022
See the Saudi destination through Messi’s eyes
The news has surprised football fans as much as it has delighted them. Former Saudi national team striker Sami Al-Jaber commented on the announcement as a unique opportunity to have Messi as an ambassador. The 34-year-old’s popularity could have a big impact on the Kingdom’s new image as a leading tourist destination in the region. Lionel Messi becomes a real opportunity that Saudi Arabia has seized to showcase its rich cultural and natural heritage to the world.