Global Football Icon Lionel Messi Enjoys Fun-Packed Family Vacation in Riyadh

Saudi tourism brand ambassador Lionel Messi and his family arrived in Riyadh this morning for an action-packed 2-day trip in the capital.

Argentinian football icon Lionel Messi and his family are in Riyadh, enjoying the world’s most exciting new family-friendly destination. This is Messi’s second vacation in Saudi, having visited Jeddah with friends last year. This time Messi is joined by his family who are delighted to be spending time with each other on a getaway packed with fun family activities and attractions from cultural and historical gems to immersive outdoor experiences and time in the city’s modern entertainment districts.

The Messi family are not alone in discovering the magic of Saudi Arabia. Celebrities such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Alicia Keys, amongst many others, have been spotted in Saudi with their families, making it one of the most vibrant new family-friendly destinations in the world.

The family spent the first day of their holiday visiting an authentic Saudi farm, away from the fast pace of the city. The family witnessed a palm weaving demonstration against the backdrop of majestic palm trees – a symbol of prosperity in Saudi. The Kingdom’s palm trees produce over 1.5 million tons of dates annually – which are a central part of Saudi cuisine.

The Messi family enjoyed playing and feeding the Arabian gazelle. The graceful animal is part of an ambitious rewilding program, reintroducing Arabian Gazelles, Oryx and the Arabian Leopard at wildlife reserves across the Kingdom.

Whilst Saudi is known for is majestic desert, the Rub’ Al Khali (Empty Quarter), the Kingdom has a diverse landscape that can be enjoyed year-round, from the UNESCO-listed oasis of Al-Ahsa, to the pristine coral reefs of Saudi’s 1,700km long Red Sea coast, which can be enjoyed by divers and cruise liners, and where the first of 16 luxury hotels will be opening later this year. Saudi also offers the cool, green highlands of Asir where the locals holiday in the summer.

The warm Saudi welcome, known as Hafawa, makes it a perfect destination for families.

Riyadh, home to around 8 million people, is also one of the Top 50 Safest Cities in the World according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, making it an ideal destination for families to explore and enjoy.

Messi visiting with his wife and children is giving a global platform to the potential of the market and encouraging people to discover the authentic home of Arabia.

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The family’s experience will be shared with Messi’s 450M+ followers worldwide, showcasing the best of Saudi to the world.

With a record 93.5 million visits last year, Saudi has emerged as one of the most dynamic and diverse, year-round destinations in the world. Riyadh is widely considered one of tourism’s last frontiers and is mesmerizingly unexpected with its bright city lights, music festivals, and range of cuisine from street food to Michelin-starred restaurants.

More information on the Saudi experience can be found at and @AskVisitSaudi

About Saudi Tourism Authority

Saudi Tourism Authority (STA), launched in June 2020, is responsible for marketing Saudi’s tourism destinations worldwide and developing the destination’s offering through programs, packages and business support. Its mandate includes developing the country’s unique assets and destinations, hosting and participating in industry events, and promoting Saudi’s destination brand locally and overseas. STA operates 16 representative offices around the world, serving 38 countries.

SEEN IN IMAGE: Leo Messi, Saudi Tourism brand ambassador, landed in Riyadh this morning with his family and headed straight to a secret farm location to enjoy an authentic Saudi breakfast followed by an introduction to the Arabian Gazelle (an endangered species being reintroduced as part of an ambitious rewilding program across Saudi’s wild nature reserves) which the children enjoyed feeding. Before basking in the early summer sun during private family time at the pool, the family learned how to play a popular board game called Carrom and were given some insider tips on the art of palm weaving and even had a go themselves. It’s one of the oldest professions in the ‘country of 30 million palm trees’ where dates, the fruit of palm trees, are the nation’s favorite treat. – image courtesy of Saudi Tourism Authority


HANNAH BAIRD, Senior Consultant, M: +971 52 533 0937, The Offices 5, Level 2, One Central, P.O. Box 9272, DWTC, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, T: +971 4 360 6591

About the author

Linda Hohnholz