Cannes Lions: Saudi tourism bets on creativity

STA debuted at the festival saying how home-grown and international creatives are working together

Saudi Tourism Authority made it debut at Cannes Lions with a speech by its CEO Fahd Hamidaddin.

Hamidaddin spoke on the crucial role creativity plays in shaping the conversation around tourism, and the country.

Driven by ambitious goals, Saudi is placing creativity and innovation at the centre of its push to diversify its economy and leverage opportunities on its path of transformation.

The Kingdom wants to help spark conversation around the dramatic changes on the ground and shatter prejudice

In a 30-minute address attended by leading creatives from around the world, Hamidaddin said: “Storytelling is something that Arabia has always cherished, and creativity is the beacon of our future, it’s the beauty of imagination meeting innovation.”

Speaking of Saudi’s journey towards 2030, with its focus on creativity – the new energy source, he outlined Saudi’s aim.

“We are experiencing a transformation which takes Saudi from being oil dependent to becoming a fully diversified hyper-growth economy that sits at the centre of the world – economically, socially and creatively as well.”

The keynote paid tribute to the Saudi creative forces re-shaping the narrative on a world stage.

Pointing to art showcases, the burgeoning entertainment scene – with Saudi entries to both the Oscars and the Festival du Cinema at Cannes – a growing cadre of home-grown and international creatives working together to demonstrate the importance of creativity in furthering the country’s ambitions.

Taking the audience on a journey through some key developments in Saudi’s arts and entertainment space, he expressed pride in Saudi’s innovation and creativity.

“If you think you know Saudi, think again. Even Saudis don’t recognise it amid the changes and transformations happening every day.”

Hamidaddin shared a simple yet impactful sentiment: “With open hearts and on behalf of the Saudi people, we welcome you to the heart of Arabia”

Pointing to the importance of creativity in “bridging cultures between worlds that are distant but not so different”, Hamidaddin put out an open invitation for collaboration to create award-winning work worthy of winning at Cannes Lions.