KSA emerges as a major player on world stage

Updated 18 November 2015
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KSA emerges as a major player on world stage

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is a major player in the global economy, a senior economist following the G-20 summit, which concluded in Antalya on Monday, observed.
Osama Kurdi, former Shoura Council member, said Saudi Arabia under Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman has become a major player in the world economy by supporting the economic policies of the major countries in the world.
“Despite the contributions made by various global bodies such as WTO, UN and OPEC, G-20 has begun to play an important role not only in the economic field but also in the political field,” Kurdi said.
The Kingdom has joined the summit in fighting against terrorism, creating job opportunities and developing SMEs which is the need of the hour, he noted.
By virtue of the wise policies of King Salman, he said the Kingdom is marching toward a prosperous economic goal to achieve peace, security and political stability in the region.
Musad Al-Zayani, Dubai-based Saudi journalist who is currently covering the G-20 Summit, told Arab News that King Salman’s speech at the summit was well received by the delegates.
He said that the king strongly condemned all forms of terror and also admitted that the Kingdom has been a victim of terrorism for several years.
The journalist welcomed the suggestion made by King Salman that quick solutions must be found for the problems in Syria, Palestine and Yemen.
He pointed out that its a magnanimous gesture on the part of the king to call for support of the Syrian refugees irrespective of the countries of displacement.
“We are a major player in the global oil industry,” the journalist said, pointing out that Saudi Arabia has the key to any problems in the petrochemical industry by virtue of its oil reserves and massive oil production.
The king, Al-Zayani said, has a clear vision to promote SME’s in the Kingdom which would create job opportunities for the youth and eventually take the economy to new heights.
Prominent Saudi writer Mohsin Hassan Al-Sheikh said the people in the Kingdom are very happy that King Salman has unreservedly condemned terrorism by joining the world community at the G-20.
Although they try to give an Islamic color to their actions, terrorists have no religion and they are criminals involved in destructive work. Under the leadership of King Salman, he said that the Kingdom will provide an effective fight against terror so that people in the region, as well as in other parts of the world, can live in peace and prosperity.
King Salman, who was leading the Saudi delegation at the G-20 summit, met with foreign leaders gathered on Sunday and discussed with them developments in the region and the summit agenda.
The members of the G-20 are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.
Saudi Arabia has a special place as a G-20 member given its role in global energy security and heavy-weight economic status in the region — it is the only country from the Middle East and Arab world represented in the G-20.


Ad Diriyah a ‘jewel’ of Saudi Arabia, its revival key to Kingdom’s future, says project chief

The historic district of At-Turaif in Ad Diriyah, once home to the Saudi royal family. (Ziyad Al-Arfaj/Arab News)
Updated 16 December 2018
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Ad Diriyah a ‘jewel’ of Saudi Arabia, its revival key to Kingdom’s future, says project chief

  • Tourism mogul Jerry Inzerillo talks to Arab News about the megaproject to restore the UNESCO site
  • “We have specific instructions to open several assets for 2019. These are very exciting plans.”

RIYADH: Gerard “Jerry” Inzerillo, tourism mogul and CEO of the Ad Diriyah Gate Development Authority, gave an exclusive interview to Arab News in the town’s historical At-Turaif district.

Ad Diriyah, located on the outskirts of Riyadh and once the home of the Saudi royal family, temporarily opened its gates as the ABB Formula E racing championship took place a few kilometers away. 

The serenity of the location allows visitors to experience the historical significance of At-Turaif. Efforts to restore its magnificence are clearly evident.

Restoring At-Turaif and Ad Diriyah is one of the many megaprojects underway to boost tourism in the Kingdom, in line with the Vision 2030 reform plan.

Why Ad Diriyah? Because you can’t have a future without a past. That’s where the crown prince’s brilliance lies.

“It’s a magical time in the Kingdom. What all these projects will offer people from all over the world is fabulous,” said Inzerillo in his Brooklyn accent.

“With all that vision, boldness and welcome, you want to go to the soul, the pearl, the jewel of the Kingdom, and that’s the UNESCO World Heritage Site Ad Diriyah and At-Turaif.”

When visiting Ad Diriyah 19 years ago, Inzerillo admitted that he was slightly let down by what he saw.

He understood its historical significance, and 19 years later, with the manpower of hundreds of Saudis who believe in the preservation of their country’s heritage, Inzerillo can see the fruits of their labor. “The future can only be anchored with the values of the past,” he said.

The UNESCO site has undergone 15 years of restoration, bringing it back to life. Working alongside the crown prince, Inzerillo believes that Mohammed bin Salman’s insistence on preserving the authenticity and soul of Ad Diriyah and At-Turaif is vital. “There’s only one Ad Diriyah,” said Inzerillo.

Everything that will be built around the historical site will be made of mud and in keeping with the architecture of Saudi Arabia’s central Najd region. 

“To preserve the authenticity of the area, the crown prince stressed that he wants street energy, human interaction, laughter, food, beverages and music. There will be a major focus on pedestrian traffic,” Inzerillo said.

“Many people don’t realize that there’s 1,000 years of history in Saudi Arabia, and At-Turaif has 274 years of history on its own.”

He said he can see the pace of progress in the tourism sector. For years, the Kingdom has welcomed millions of people through Makkah and Madinah, but Inzerillo believes that it is time for Riyadh to shine.  

“It’s now time to come to Riyadh, a thriving international global city that’s on a fast track to 8 million people,” he said.

“It’ll be the stop-off point for the region. It’s where the region started. Arabia started at Ad Diriyah,” he added.

“I’ve been in tourism for 50 years. I’ve worked with some of the best heads of state in the world. The crown prince is so smart and full of love for this project,” Inzerillo said.

“We have specific instructions to open several assets for 2019. These are very exciting plans. We’re going to be opening major restaurants, retail outlets and hotels for 2020,” he added.

“The crown prince will announce the masterplan in the next few months. It’s bold and exciting. Nowhere in the world has the level of authenticity, the authentic mud that At-Turaif has.”

The project’s success will be due to the crown prince’s watchful eye and hands-on approach, Inzerillo said.  

It will include museums, academic institutions, “edutainment” facilities, 11 hotels, several hundred shops and 100 restaurants. 

They will all overlook the Wadi Hanifah valley in Najd, surrounded by 1 million date palm trees and another 1 million that are expected to be planted.

“Why Ad Diriyah? Because you can’t have a future without a past,” said Inzerillo. “That’s where the crown prince’s brilliance lies.”