Saudi Arabia Invites the World to Enter the Metaverse at WTTC Global Summit in Riyadh
The 22nd edition of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit in Saudi Arabia will be attended by a prestigious gathering of tourism leaders in Riyadh. It is also supported by a metaverse experience created for potential investors to explore investment opportunities and take part in some of the sessions that will be livestreamed from the Saudi capital.
The use of the metaverse at the Summit is a practical example of how the Kingdom is already implementing its pioneering three-year Digital Tourism Strategy that was launched earlier in the year as the next step in its development of the sector.
Over the next three years Saudi plans to encourage experimentation to allow technology innovators to test new digital tourism solutions, to support tourism related extended reality applications and to incorporate technology that makes Hajj visits safer and more efficient than ever for millions of pilgrims. The use of this technology at the Summit is another important step along that road.
For the first time, the Summit, being held from 28 November to 1 December in Riyadh is being live streamed to the general public, and those attending virtually can choose to join some of the livestream sessions via the metaverse or on the public live stream available at https://metaverse.globalsummitriyadh.com/
Commenting on this virtual first, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Tourism, His Excellency Ahmad Al Khateeb said: "WTTC will arrive in Riyadh as tourism enters a new era of recovery and we welcome the world to join them virtually in our metaverse. Bringing together global leaders from both the public and private sector, the Summit will be fundamental in building the better, brighter future the sector deserves and technology and innovation will be key to our collective future success."
The metaverse experience has been designed to be easy to use, engaging and a novel introduction of how the metaverse can support and enhance physical events both for those on site and for those that wish to engage virtually only. Attendees can choose to create their own avatar, watch the live sessions available and set up appointments with exhibitors.
It will allow the user to explore Saudi as a tourist destination, see how the Kingdom is using technology to transform tourism, watch session highlights and gain insights on the topics being discussed. Users will also be able to connect with a global audience by discussing trending topics in the networking area as an avatar using both text chat and voice chat functionality.
The interactive nature will also enable individuals to understand the investment opportunities offered by Saudi Arabia and engage in live interaction in the investor’s gallery and ask questions in real time.
This year’s event has the theme "Travel for a Better Future” and will bring together global thought leaders to discuss the pressing issues affecting the post pandemic travel and tourism sector. It will feature a line-up of globally renowned speakers including Ban Ki-moon, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, and Lady Theresa May, a former British Prime Minister.
Saudi Arabia has already begun investing heavily in tourism projects that foster innovation, with the highest profile being NEOM that has become the world’s most ambitious tourism project. This futuristic city being developed in North West Saudi Arabia will be a showcase of world-leading design and immersive digital experiences, smart cities and research areas.
It is hoped that this global gathering of tourism experts will foster an enhanced spirit of collaboration between countries as they journey along new and innovative development paths that are essential to help ensure the sustainability of the sector.