Argentinian football star Lionel Messi and his family arrived in Saudi Arabia on Monday to enjoy a holiday in Riyadh.
The trip is Messi’s second vacation in Saudi Arabia, having visited Jeddah with friends last year.
This time he 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.
They include cultural and historical gems, immersive outdoor experiences and the city’s modern entertainment districts.
The Messi family are not the only ones choosing to have their holidays in Saudi Arabia.
Celebrities including Cristiano Ronaldo and Alicia Keys have been seen with their families in Saudi Arabia, which is becoming one of the world’s most vibrant new family-friendly destinations.
Messi, his wife Antonela Roccuzzo and their sons spent the first day of their holiday visiting an authentic Saudi farm, away from the fast pace of the city.
They watched a palm-weaving demonstration against the backdrop of the majestic trees, which are a symbol of prosperity in Saudi Arabia.
The country’s palm trees produce more than 1.5 million tonnes of dates annually, which are a central part of Saudi Arabian cuisine.
The Messi family enjoyed playing with and feeding the Arabian gazelle.
The animal is part of an ambitious rewilding programme, reintroducing Arabian gazelles, oryx and the Arabian leopard at wildlife reserves across the country.
While Saudi Arabia is known for its vast Rub Al Khali (Empty Quarter) desert, it also has a diverse landscape that can be enjoyed year-round.
Must-see destinations include the Unesco-listed oasis of Al Ahsa, and the pristine coral reefs of the country’s 1,700km Red Sea coast, which can be enjoyed by divers and on cruise liners.
The first of 16 luxury hotels will open along the coastline this year.
Saudi Arabia also offers the cool, green highlands of Asir where the locals holiday in the summer.
The warm Saudi welcome, known as hafawa, is extended to all visitors.
Riyadh, home to about 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.
With a record 93.5 million visits last year, Saudi Arabia 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 with its bright city lights, music festivals and range of cuisine from street food to Michelin-starred restaurants.