Business Trip To Riyadh: Everything You Need To Know


The Saudi Arabian capital has become a business hub in recent years. Riyadh has become the hub for trade and commerce in the Middle East.  

Riyadh has always been known as an ultra-conservative city; however, this has changed in recent years. Many businesses are now moving their headquarters to Riyadh, which boasts sporting events, festivals, cinemas, concerts, and more. 

Around $18 billion is expected to be added to the local economy per the Regional Headquarters Attraction Program. They are also set to create 300,000 new jobs over the next decade.  

Hence, you have come to the right place if you are looking for business opportunities in the capital. Check out our comprehensive business travel guide to Riyadh.  

Essentials to Carry Pre-Departure 

Keep these things in mind- 

Visa Requirements 

Obtaining a visa is mandatory to enter any country. Double-check your Saudi Arabia visa requirements with their embassy. As processing time can vary and take up to a month’s time, you must apply for your Saudi visa well before the deadline. 

Currency Exchange 

The official currency of Saudi Arabia is the Saudi Riyal (SAR). Exchange enough cash for expenses after you arrive. However, avoid carrying lump sum cash in your pocket. Most international debit and credit cards are widely accepted. 

Business Etiquette 

Understanding the business customs of local businesses is vital. Dress modestly while visiting official or religious places. Greetings are done with a handshake; however, you must avoid handshakes with the opposite gender (unless necessary) 


While Arabic is the official language, English is widely spoken in the business sphere. However, learning a few key phrases in the local language goes a long way.  


Riyadh is the seat for incredible hotel and accommodation options for business travelers. You can choose from a wide range of accommodation options based on your preferred location, hotel type (three-star, five-star, seven-star, etc.), and affordability.  

Luxury hotels like Four Seasons and the Ritz-Carlton offer world-class facilities and exceptional service. More business-friendly hotels like Movenpick Hotel and Marriott Riyadh offer comfortable options with spacious meeting rooms.  

Local Travelling 

You can opt for the best private jet charters in Saudi Arabia to get to Riyadh. You can opt for Riyadh’s public transportation. Ridesharing options such as Uber and Career are also convenient. You can simply rent a car or ask your hotel to book a cab for you for an easy and comfortable commute.  

Dining and Entertainment 

Riyadh is home to multiple culinary delights. Travelers can choose from multiple eatery options, from traditional Saudi Arabian dishes to McDonalds. Experience local dishes such as Mandi (slow-cooked rice with meat) or Kasba (spicy rice with meat).  

Remember, alcohol consumption is prohibited. However, Riyadh offers a plethora of entertainment choices.  

Explore malls like Faisaliah Mall and historical sites like the National Museum and Masmak Fort. For the most authentic experience of Saudi Arabian culture, visit the vibrant souqs (markets) or cultural events.  

Cultural Considerations  

Saudi Arabia is a conservative Islamic state ruled by the religious Sharia law. Respect dress codes and local customs.  

Avoid public displays of affection at all costs. Be careful with photography, as multiple places restrict photography. Friday is their holy day, and many government offices and companies stay closed.  

Additional Tips for a Successful Business Trip 

Weather: Riyadh experiences hot and dry summers with little to no rain. Temperatures during the summer months reach 42 degrees (celsius). Pack breathable clothing, sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat. Winters are mild cold with little rain.  

Carry Business Cards: It is customary for businesses to exchange cards. Hence, print plenty of business cards in Arabic and English.  

Learning Resources: Familiarize yourself with a few Arabic phrases. Use translation apps and tools to understand the language. 

Power Adapters: Pack a universal adapter to charge your devices. Saudi Arabia usually uses Type-G electrical plugs.  

Health Precautions: Ensure your vaccinations are done and carry a copy of it. Pack your essential medications (fever, anti-allergens, headache, indigestion, etc.) 

Have a Safe Business Trip to Riyadh  

A successful business trip to Saudi Arabia’s capital requires effective planning and an open mind. You might face cultural shock; however, you must always remain respectful. Leverage this guide and understand the local customs, dos and don’ts, and other practical aspects.  

By following the rules respectfully, you can foster meaningful relationships and enjoy your business trip. Remember, a small attempt to understand and respect one’s culture goes a long way in building rapport with your Saudi Arabian partners. 

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