Cruise Saudi’s CEO Lars Clasen was awarded ‘Executive of the Year – Tourism’ at the Middle East Management Excellence Awards ceremony in Dubai. Attended by C-suite level, senior management, digital and technology business department heads and marketing communications executive guests, the night celebrated the region’s most outstanding business leaders, culminating in Cruise Saudi CEO taking home this coveted category.
The ‘Executive of the Year – Tourism’ award is designed to recognise a notable contribution to the success and growth of a company. In collaboration with valued international partners, government and local entities, and a passionate team of visionaries, Lars Clasen has guided Cruise Saudi’s exponential initial growth phase and continues to oversee the building of an ambitious offshore and onshore cruise ecosystem, with the aim of positioning Saudi as a premier global cruise destination.
Since its launch in 2021, Cruise Saudi has fully equipped three ports with the necessary infrastructure to welcome international cruise ships: Jeddah Islamic Port, Yanbu Commercial Port, and King Abdulaziz Port in Dammam, welcoming more than 300,000 passengers to Saudi’s shores from 100+ nationalities by the end of its third season. Cruise Saudi has ambitious plans to welcome 1.3 million cruise passengers to Saudi by sea by 2035, an ambition made possible by Saudi’s Vision 2030, and the government’s own aim to welcome 100 million visitors to Saudi annually.
Notably, Cruise Saudi has also continued to implement training and development programmes in collaboration with local universities and international cruise lines, with more plans in the pipeline to equip the youth in Saudi with the skills and practical experience they require to become cruise industry specialists. With 50,000 direct and indirect jobs projected to be created by 2035, and a current Saudization rate of 77% with plans to employ more Saudi locals in the coming years, Cruise Saudi is not only making an impact on the global cruise market, but also on the local economy.
With pioneering innovation, such as the launch of Cruise Saudi’s owned-cruise line AROYA Cruises, the first of its kind designed with Arabian preferences, a future forward mindset remains front and centre in the strategy for Cruise Saudi’s continued growth and success on the world cruising stage.
Commenting on the win, Lars Clasen said “Since joining Cruise Saudi in February last year, I am so proud to have seen the organisation make tremendous strides in putting Saudi on the map as a global cruise destination. Winning this award is truly a team effort – and so I would like to accept this while recognising the collaboration and dedication of all who work at Cruise Saudi. We are about to start our fourth season – one that will continue to empower the local community, create jobs, and build on the incredible tourism landscape in Saudi by attracting more international visitors.”
As the visionary cruise company sails into season four, Cruise Saudi will continue to work with the government and local entities to develop ports and curate high-quality destination experiences that benefit both visitors and the local economy – many of which are welcoming tourists for the first time.