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Red Sea joins Virtuoso’s portfolio as a travel partner

Red Sea joins Virtuoso’s portfolio as a travel partner

The destination hopes to be the gold standard for regenerative and sustainable tourism when it opens its doors to travellers later in 2023

Marisha Singh
Red Sea Coastline. Image Credit:

Red Sea Global has announced its tie-up with Virtuoso, the leading global network specialising in luxury and experiential travel. The developer said that The Red Sea, its flagship destination, has been accepted into Virtuoso’s portfolio of luxury travel partners. Virtuoso specialises in curating customised travel experiences for high-value travellers – high net-worth-individuals (HNWIs) and ultra HNWIs.

The Red Sea is one of Saudi Arabia’s flagship tourism destinations being developed under the country’s Vision 2030 programme. The destination hopes to be the gold standard for regenerative and sustainable tourism when it opens its doors to travellers later in 2023.

John Pagano, group CEO of Red Sea Global expressed his enthusiasm about the partnership, stating, “The Red Sea is pioneering a distinctive bond between luxury tourism and the natural environment. By prioritising people and the planet, we are enriching the surrounding ecosystem and redefining the concept of responsible development. Through our collaboration with Virtuoso, we will showcase the distinctive advantages of regenerative tourism while providing unrivalled guest experiences to travellers worldwide.”

The Red Sea as a luxury travel destination

Spanning 28,000 square kilometres on the west coast of Saudi Arabia, The Red Sea will host luxury brands such as Ritz-Carlton Reserve and Miraval Resorts, which will mark their first Middle east operations.

The Red Sea’s focus on developing as a sustainable and net zero tourism destination aligns with Virtuoso’s specialisation of advancing sustainable tourism destinations, principles and practices. Virtuoso has prioritised sustainability as a core pillar of their mission. As part of their commitment to sustainability, they have also established a Sustainability Council, which provides related training and professional development for affiliated travel advisors. The agency has also authored a white paper on Virtuoso Sustainability.

Virtuoso’s senior vice president of Sales & Partnerships, Cory Hagopian, emphasises the congruence between Red Sea Global’s approach to luxury development and enhancing natural capital with Virtuoso’s mission to drive the transition to green tourism. Hagopian said, “As travellers increasingly seek destinations that combine opulence with eco-friendly activities, The Red Sea is poised to firmly establish Saudi Arabia on the global tourism map.”

By partnering with Virtuoso, Red Sea Global gains direct access to the leading leisure travel agencies across North and Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East.

The development of the Red Sea as a tourism destination will be an ongoing project. It is slated for full completion in 2030 which will encompass 50 resorts, and over 1,000 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites. The tourism destination will also have its own international airport, marinas, golf courses, and leisure facilities.

Virtuoso in Dubai

The announcement of the tie-up comes as Virtuoso is focusing its attention on enhancing its luxury offerings as well as network in the Middle east. Virtuoso has announced Dubai as the location for its next annual symposium. The announcement was made during its 2023 symposium in Montreal, Canada. Virtuoso is partnering with Dubai Economy and Tourism to elevate the tourism network for the emirate.

Virtuoso chairman and CEO Matthew D Upchurch said, “Dubai is one of the most dynamic cities in the world, and we couldn’t be more excited to hold our next symposium there.” He added, “The destination is an important element of this particular event. When we’re evaluating potential locations, the collaboration between the public and private sectors plays a large part in the selection process. Our preferred partners have come together to create an exceptional programme that will surely wow our symposium attendees.”

“We’re honoured to host the Virtuoso Symposium in Dubai next May 2024,” stated Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing. “Strengthening our partnership with the Virtuoso network significantly complements our current efforts to become a top three international destination for tourism and business. We look forward to showcasing Dubai’s mosaic of offerings, from distinctive accommodations and entertainment to rich cultural experiences and an unparalleled culinary scene.”

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