LISTEN: Inside Saudi Arabia’s Instagram influence operation, where bloggers get lavish vacations to help clean up the country’s bloody reputation

  • Saudi Arabia is attracting travel influencers with luxury visits as part of a campaign to repair the country's tattered reputation.
  • Saudi Arabia and its crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, want tourism to become a huge industry.
  • They've focused on social media influencers to help promote it ahead of the launch of a new tourist visa, which is expected in late September.
  • Insider spoke with a dozen people were taken on all-expenses-paid trips around the country, as well as prominent figures who said they turned down Saudi hospitality on principle.
  • Some said the high-profile killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi factored into their decision-making. That incident and other human-rights outcries continue to cast a shadow over the kingdom.
  • Listen to our story below.


Saudi Arabia

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