Saudi Arabia is gifted with Hajj & Umrah religious tourism that accounts for 7 million visitors each year and constitutes a highly profitable business which could be further enhanced with e-commerce integration. However, despite the availability of technological and financial resources, e-commerce has not been adopted to its full capacity in the Saudi tourism market. This study conducted a qualitative survey among decision makers in the Saudi tourism industry and found that cultural aspects are a significant reason behind the limited adoption of e-commerce. There is a pervasive trust issue with online business with fears about privacy and security compounded by a low level of awareness of e-commerce services as such. It also found that Saudis overall have not developed a comfort level with the procedures involved in online transactions. Also, most Saudi travel agencies are family businesses which in most cases have a risk-averse leadership that likes to stick to the status. The rich and nuanced explanation of these cultural factors in this paper explains how e-commerce usage in Saudi Arabia is lagging behind despite the availability of technological and financial capability.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/siddhi/27/