Former Visit Victoria marketing strategist lands role with Saudi Arabian cultural site

Experienced Australian marketer to become executive director of marketing for the AlUla heritage and cultural site

Melanie De Souza
Melanie De Souza

Former Visit Victoria general manager of digital, marketing services and strategy, Melanie De Souza, is relocating to Saudi Arabia to take up an executive marketing role at one of the world’s most significant forthcoming destinations.  

The experienced tourism and hospitality industry marketing and strategy leader spent 20 years with Tourism Victoria, which rebranded to Visit Victoria in July 2017, holding several roles including general manager of international marketing and director of marketing and airline services. It was De Souza’s work on helping the tourism entity define its new position and approach that saw her listed in the 2018 edition of the CMO50.  

Prior to this, she was director of sales and marketing for Oberoi Hotels and Resorts in Melbourne.  

De Souza now takes up the role of executive director of marketing with the Saudi Royal Commission of the forthcoming AlUla heritage and cultural site, based in Riyadh.   

The significant 6th century BC walled city site will be unveiled in October 2020 and at more than 29,000 square kilometres, represents the size of Belgium. As De Souza explained it, the site features dramatic landscapes and traces from civilisations past going back to the Nabateans with some relics dating back to the Bronze age, and corresponds to the old incense route.  

The AlUla project is worth $6 billion and represents one of three significant initiatives associated with Saudi's vision 2030 and the push to diversify the economy away from oil.    

De Souza told CMO she had been “truly blown away” by the site on a recent trip.  

“I feel truly privileged to be joining a classy outfit, with several expats on-board and a big job ahead on many fronts,” she said, adding there’s hefty marketing budget involved.  

“On my recent trip I gained first-hand appreciation of what working in Saudi as an expat woman would be like and a gauge on the living and working conditions. I am also conscious the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia country brand is challenged and we will need to address this as security, safety and human rights weigh heavily on people's minds in destination decision-making.”  

Currently, visas are largely restricted to the kingdom. But with 30 countries soon to be granted access to e-tourist visas, the opportunities are huge, De Souza said.  

“Overall, I’m excited about the opportunity and feel it's a once in the lifetime chance to shape a significant new global tourism experience - that should more than rival the likes of Machu Pichhu and Petra - and affect its marketing fortunes,” she said.  

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia. 

 

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Conversations over a cuppa with CMO: ABC's Leisa Bacon

In this episode of Conversations over a Cuppa with CMO, ABC's director of audiences, Leisa Bacon, shares how she's navigated the COVID-19 crisis, the milestones and adaptability it's ushered in, and what sustained lessons there are for marketers as we start to recover.

More Videos

Zero proof spiritsUsa since 2011 www.arkaybeverages.com🤪🤟

Sylvie

How this alcohol-free spirits brand rode the health and wellness wave

Read more

okay this a good newsmaybe i gonna try it

kenzopoker1

CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 9 July 2020

Read more

Very insightful. Executive leaders can let middle managers decide on the best course of action for the business and once these plans are ...

Abi TCA

CMOs: Let middle managers lead radical innovation

Read more

One failing brand tying up with another failing brand!

Realist

Binge and The Iconic launch Inactivewear clothing line

Read more

I am 56 years old and was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease after four years of decreasing mobility to the point of having family dress ...

Nancy Tunick

The personal digital approach that's helping Vision RT ride out the crisis

Read more

Blog Posts

MYOD Dataset: Building a DAM

In my first article in this MYOD [Make Your Organisation Data-Driven] series, I articulated a one-line approach to successfully injecting data into your organisation’s DNA: Using a Dataset -> Skillset -> Mindset framework. This will take your people and processes on a journey to data actualisation.

Kshira Saagar

Group director of data science, Global Fashion Group

Business quiet? Now is the time to review your owned assets

For businesses and advertiser categories currently experiencing a slowdown in consumer activity, now is the optimal time to get started on projects that have been of high importance, but low urgency.

Olia Krivtchoun

CX discipline leader, Spark Foundry

Bottoms up: Lockdown lessons for an inverted marketing world

The effects of the coronavirus slammed the brakes on retail sales in pubs, clubs and restaurants. Fever-Tree’s Australia GM Andy Gaunt explains what they have learnt from some tricky months of trading

Andy Gaunt

General manager, Fever-Tree Australia and New Zealand

Sign in