UK-based Intrepid Travel to run first women’s tours to Saudi Arabia

UK-based Intrepid Travel to run first women’s tours to Saudi Arabia

Groups will stay in a female-owned accommodation supporting local women in business

The first tour organised by Intrepid Travel for women to Saudi Arabia is to run this year; just five departures are planned, each with a maximum of 12 travellers. 

The 12-day women’s expeditions, starting on 26 November 2024, lead-in at £4,795 (US$6,000) per person, and the tours will be led by female guides, aiming to showcase a different side of the country beyond luxury resorts and high-end offerings, according to the operator.

Starting in Riyadh and finishing in Jeddah, groups will stay in a female-owned boutique hotel, heritage property and desert camp, directly supporting a total of nine female-owned and operated businesses.

EMEA managing director Zina Bencheikh, who recently visited Saudi and whose team will oversee operations, said: “We know that for some travellers, the decision as to whether to visit Saudi Arabia, as it transitions to a more moderate society, is not an easy one. However, we strongly believe that travel, when done right, can be a positive force for change. It connects people, broadens perspectives, and builds empathy. Travel allows us to learn about lives very different to ours.”

Bencheikh continued: “On my own visit, I met many women who were embracing the changes in their society. They were excited to begin their careers in travel and welcome people to their country. By launching our women’s expedition, we hope to create opportunities for those women to push boundaries and drive meaningful change, for themselves and future generations.”

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The trips feature several visits to women’s homes and female-only spaces as part of an itinerary designed to open dialogue and foster connection between women from vastly different backgrounds.

Intrepid has developed the tours in partnership with a female-owned local operator run by Sara Omar, a Saudi mother of two and passionate traveller.

Omar, who understands that many travellers to Saudi often arrive with misconceptions about the country, said: “A lot of people think Saudi women are unable to do anything, that we’re not educated, that we don’t work. Meeting the locals is the best way to understand what the lifestyle is really like.

Intrepid’s product manager for women’s expeditions, Jenny Gray, added: “This new trip has been a year in the making, as we challenged ourselves to create a trip in Saudi in line with our values that would be a genuine force for good. 

"With tourism to Saudi focused on vast ultra-luxury offerings, we wanted to balance that by creating something completely unique in Saudi Arabia: a trip putting local women’s voices centre stage. With activities like joining a cooking class with a local female chef and getting pampered at a women-owned salon, the trip will give our travellers the chance to see a side of Saudi few get to experience.”



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