The Saudi Tourism Ministry and Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) has announced the creation of a non-fungible token (NFTs) souvenirs. In a first of its kind initiative, the Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb presented the personalized digital mementos in appreciation of the visit of the heads of delegations participating in the 116th session of the Executive Council of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to the Kingdom, which was recently held in Jeddah.
The Ministry’s groundbreaking souvenirs blend the physical world and the metaverse, which is an immersive virtual reality world with a simulated digital environment that uses augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), blockchain, as well as digital media elements for social interactions. On the sidelines of the UNWTO's meeting, a virtual reality art show was held where a creative artist painted a collection of 3D landscapes inspired by virtual Saudi landmarks.
The 3D drawings were converted into digital format to NFTs, and were gifted as souvenirs to the guests along with a ledger wallet that provides an address on the blockchain to access their exclusively owned artworks. Al-Khateeb noted that these NFTs souvenirs embody the leadership's vision for Saudi Arabia's future and its keenness on digital transformation.
“As technology advances, it is important that we remain at the forefront of innovation," he said.
The tourism infrastructure in the Kingdom is designed to enable it to embrace new trends and digital transformation, which is one of the ministry's top priorities, he said. "The NFTs serve as a bold statement to the world by showing them how distinguished Saudi Arabia is, which has been able to develop an unparalleled tourism sector, where travelers can expect to see and experience unique and futuristic offerings in the Kingdom.”
The Minister of Tourism expressed his happiness that the UNWTO's guests were able to obtain a digital embodiment through the NFTs souvenirs. He said, “We are delighted that our guests will get to take home a digital manifestation of their unforgettable moments spent here in the Kingdom’s most exciting touristic landmarks.”
It is worth mentioning that Saudi Arabia has made great strides in digital transformation and is striving to drive the growth of its digital economy in line with the directives of Vision 2030. In keeping with its commitment to contributing to these goals, the Ministry of Tourism launched a three-year Digital Tourism Strategy earlier this year.
This was launched with the aim of accelerating the sector’s growth, creating new jobs, and spurring innovation, the strategy focuses on nine innovative programs consisting of 31 core initiatives. These programs will boost the Kingdom’s National Tourism Strategy and Vision 2030 targets, including 100 million new visits, the tourism sector’s 10 percent GDP contribution and 1 million new tourism jobs.
It is noteworthy that the non-fungible token (NFTs) enables creators from everywhere to retain and prove ownership of a digital asset for their creative products, which include countless things such as art, music, audio recordings and a tweet so that they can make money (monetize) of ownership or the right to own. Creators can also store the NFTs on the blockchain system, which is used to keep a record of Bitcoin transactions.