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The Cool Saudi Arabian Souvenir Enterprise Brought to You by This Avid Traveller and Collector

When Saudi Arabia started opening up its doors to welcome tourists, they may have been missing a trick –  that was until a souvenir enthusiast from the kingdom decided to take it upon himself to set up the Saudi Sand Souvenir Co.


Our travels are never complete without taking home a little something to remind us of a memorable trip, be it a fridge magnet or a keyring shaped like a landmark or something that particular country is famous for. The UAE has camel toys, ‘I LOVE DXB’ t-shirts and Burj Khalifa shaped magnets, and London has red bus keychains and beefeater salt and pepper shakers, but what about Saudi Arabia?

Maher Khayyat, who is a travel and souvenir enthusiast, found a gap in Saudi’s market when he couldn’t find souvenirs that represented the kingdom. Taking it upon himself to create them, Khayyat quit his full-time job as an engineer and started the Saudi Sand Souvenir Co.

Speaking to Arab News, he said, “I am a souvenir collector, I love to collect souvenirs from around the world but I used to struggle to find souvenirs from Saudi Arabia, for myself and my friends. Whenever we want to give someone a special Saudi gift, we directly think of Zamzam water or some dates. I wanted to change that in line with the significant changes the Kingdom is going through.”

Perfectly in line with Vision 2030’s plans to boost the kingdom’s tourism sector, the Saudi Sand Souvenir Co. was formed by the souvenir collector to inform visitors to Saudi of the country’s heritage and culture. At present the new start up sells the perfect memorabilia, including tote bags, keychains, fridge magnets and passport covers and a special souvenir pack for visitors who want them all.

The Jeddah-based start up’s finds that one of its major hurdles is working on finding a way to be inclusive of every Saudi region and translating them into a souvenir, as Maher Khayyat explains, “The Kingdom is vast and has diverse traditions and customs. We solved this problem after signing an agreement with the tourism authority. It helped us to understand the culture of each region because we were provided with the necessary information we needed about each region and its community. People would ask us what use they would make of these products. We would explain their cultural and consumer value, we educated people about the country. For instance, many of them did not know about (the UNESCO World Heritage Site) Madain Saleh or Al-Ula until after the recent festivals that took place there.”

With his educational mission coming into fruition via the creation of souvenirs that represent the kingdom, Khayyat is pleased that awareness about the country and souvenirs is driving sales, “What distinguishes us is the high quality of our products and their reasonable prices, in addition to our innovative designs that combine reality with art. We want our products to be affordable to all pilgrims and tourists. Everyone should be able to buy something for themselves from Saudi Arabia.”

Saudi Sand Souvenir Co. memorabilia is now available online, and in stores and airports across Saudi Arabia.

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