Lionel Messi of Argentina and Paris Saint-Germain paid a visit to Jeddah this week after being named the Saudi Tourism Authority's official brand ambassador.
The choice of one of the most well-known sports personalities in the world to promote tourism highlights the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's extremely ambitious aspirations to increase the sector's importance to the nation.
After spending more than 20 years on the Barcelona roster and tallying more than 750 senior goals for club and country during his playing career, Messi, who arrived at Jeddah's King Abdulaziz International Airport on Monday for his official unveiling in the ambassadorial role, has emerged as an icon in the football world.
In a message posted on Twitter, Saudi Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb said: “I am pleased to welcome Lionel Messi to Saudi Arabia. We are excited for you to explore the treasure of the Red Sea, the Jeddah Season and our ancient history. This is not his first visit to the Kingdom and it will not be the last.”