Debating Saudi Arabia as a global tourism leader with Sebastien Carre

Debating Saudi Arabia as a global tourism leader with Sebastien Carre

Red Sea Global (RSG) is poised to elevate Saudi Arabia’s global tourism presence as the second-fastest growing destination worldwide. In an exclusive interview, Sebastien Carre, RSG’s group head of hospitality, tells us more. 


How is Red Sea Global helping to boost Saudi Arabia’s standing in the global tourism market?

Saudi Arabia is the second-fastest growing tourism destination in the world today, according to the World Tourism Organization. Furthermore, the kingdom originally set a target of welcoming 100 million visitors a year by 2030. Moreover, there has been an increase to 150 million because of the remarkable progress already being made.

At Red Sea Global (RSG), we’re playing a key role in achieving these targets through the development of luxury. Furthermore, our regenerative tourism destinations including The Red Sea and Amaala and our private resort destination Thuwal Private Retreat contribute to it. We are presenting a unique way to experience travel in parts of the world untouched by mass tourism. Furthermore, our guests can explore pristine beaches and secret sandbars scattered among the fringes of unknown islands, majestic mountains and sweeping desert dunes.

How do you plan to attract top talent and drive innovation in line with Red Sea Global’s commitment?

Our strategy aims to attract exceptional hoteliers who share our passion for redefining luxury and driving innovation. This is deeply intertwined with RSG’s commitment to regenerative tourism. Furthermore, by creating an environment that values purpose and sustainability, we cultivate a team dedicated to making the vision a reality through responsible and innovative practices.

My focus right now is to create a team of talented hospitality specialists for our RSG-owned properties such as Thuwal Private Retreat and Shebara, both of which will open later this year. We expect to make 700 hospitality appointments in the next 12 months alone. I urge anyone interested in being part of this industry, part of the extraordinary change happening in Saudi Arabia and part of pioneering a regenerative approach to tourism to apply today.

What challenges and opportunities do you anticipate in positioning Saudi Arabia as a global tourism leader, given the success of The Red Sea and ongoing Amaala development?

Few are familiar with Saudi Arabia, making encounters with tourists who have visited the country a rarity among travelers Furthermore, lacking such references can hinder one’s ability to envision Saudi Arabia’s tourist appeal or its logistical aspects. More people traveling to Saudi Arabia and sharing their experiences will showcase the warm welcome guests can expect upon arrival. Consequently, this will highlight the hospitality extended to visitors from around the globe in the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia’s tourism potential is truly limitless. With our first two hotels now open and more scheduled to open this year, RSG is leading in showcasing Saudi Arabia’s tourism potential globally.

How does RSG’s regenerative tourism vision set it apart and how will you incorporate it into your role as group head of Hospitality?

Red Sea Global’s destinations are home to some of the most diverse and unique natural environments on the planet. Yet, not satisfied with simply conserving that abundance of nature, RSG has set its sights on regeneration. The goal is to enhance the flora and fauna that call this part of the world home. Notably, at this scale, it is a unique vision and undertaking.

Furthermore, holidaymakers are now looking for sustainable travel options. Moreover, our destinations appeal to the first movers who are looking to make a positive impact when they travel. Soon, this will become the norm. Additionally, we will be well positioned to offer them unforgettable experiences to make a difference.

One of the other distinctive features of RSG’s vision is the celebration and preservation of cultural heritage. In my role, I will work to integrate the rich cultural tapestry of each destination into the exceptional experiences offered at our properties, providing guests with an authentic and immersive stay. Furthermore, by incorporating sustainable practices, engaging with communities, and fostering a culture of innovation, I aim to make Red Sea Global a pioneer in responsible and luxurious hospitality.

 With properties like Desert Rock, Thuwal Private Retreat and Shebara, what milestones are you aiming for in luxury hospitality?

These milestones involve not just providing luxury experiences but also leaving a lasting, positive legacy in the regions where we operate. We aim to redefine luxury hospitality standards with successes like Desert Rock, Thuwal Private Retreat and Shebara, setting new benchmarks of excellence. Furthermore, we are committed to regenerative tourism. We will also become a benchmark for other industry players, inspiring them to adopt sustainable initiatives and contribute positively to the global community and environment.

Additionally, as part of Vision 2030, we will ensure a legacy for the people of Saudi Arabia, creating jobs and opportunities. Across just our first two destinations, RSG is generating 120,000 jobs. Moreover, we’re providing training and education that will help people be part of the wealth of opportunities tourism brings. For instance, our English for Tourism Program helps those in local communities engage with international visitors. Combined, The Red Sea and Amaala will contribute 33 billion riyals (USD 8.8 billion) annually to the Saudi economy.



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About author

Rita Ghantous

Rita Ghantous is a hospitality aficionado and a passionate writer with over 9 years’ experience in journalism and 5 years experience in the hospitality sector. Her passion for the performance arts and writing, started early. At 10 years old she was praised for her solo performance of the Beatles song “All My Love” accompanied by a guitarist, and was approached by a French talent scout during her school play. However, her love for writing was stronger. Fresh out of school, she became a freelance journalist for Noun Magazine and was awarded the Silver Award Cup for Outstanding Poetry, by The International Library of Poetry (Washington DC). She studied Business Management and earned a Masters degree from Saint Joseph University (USJ), her thesis was published in the Proche-Orient, Études en Management book. She then pursued a career in the hospitality industry but didn’t give up writing, that is why she launched the Four Points by Sheraton Le Verdun Newsletter. Her love for the industry and journalism led her to Hospitality Services - the organizers of the HORECA trade show in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan, as well as Salon Du Chocolat, Beirut Cooking Festival, Whisky Live and other regional shows. She is currently the Publications Executive of Hospitality News Middle East, Taste & Flavors and Lebanon Traveler. It is with ultimate devotion for her magazines that she demonstrates her hospitality savoir-faire.

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