Saudi Arabia will become the launching pad for a major cruise line for the first time later this year with the operation of "MSC Cruises" cruise ship cruises, according to CNN.
The European giant, which is based in Switzerland, intends to run a sea route that starts from the historic city of Jeddah on the banks of the Red Sea and arrives at Aqaba to visit the city of Petra in Jordan, then the port of Safaga in Egypt to see the archaeological sites in Luxor, and there will be other stops in Saudi.
The MSC cruise route will operate from November 2021 to March 2022, and it is the first global operator to operate cruise ship cruises in Saudi Arabia.
Although marine tourism was affected by the epidemic, the local "Red Sea Spirit" company, earlier last year, launched local cruise ship trips in the Red Sea from Jeddah to Neom.
Saudi Arabia has been trying to market itself as an international tourist destination in recent years in an effort to diversify its oil-dependent economy by 2030, as it invests huge sums in developing luxury resorts and promoting historical treasures.
But Saudi Arabia will face challenges in attracting visitors who may have been affected in the past by the country's "bad" reputation for human rights and conservative laws that restrict women's freedoms.
Saudi Arabia launched a tourist visa in 2019 and revealed plans last year to build an underground resort beneath the Al-Ula desert.
The global cruise industry has been severely affected by the emerging corona virus pandemic, as it completely stopped operating last spring after international closure restrictions.