Jeddah festival to attract 1.5 million visitors

Updated 31 December 2012

Jeddah festival to attract 1.5 million visitors

“Haiya Jeddah” (Come to Jeddah). The 2nd Jeddah festival, will be held through Jan. 9-Feb. 7 this year, the official announcement of which was made by Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) at a press conference in Jeddah on Sunday.
As the festival will be held in cooperation and support of retail and tourism sectors, a ceremony signing contracts with the participants and businessmen also took place on Sunday at the premises of JCCI.
The festival aims to enhance tourism and business of the port city locally and regionally, and is expected to draw about 1.5 million visitors.
“With the launch of this 2nd Jeddah shopping festival we are expecting 1.5 million visitors from the Kingdom as also from Gulf countries,” said Mazen bin Mohammed Batterjee, the vice chairman at JCCI.
Speaking about the first festival, Mr. Mazen said it was very successful as it had one million visitors then and hoped more visitors this year “due to the timings of the inauguration of the new site of Corniche helped by the spring break when the weather will be also favorable.”
Tourists visiting Jeddah this year will enjoy more, he said.
The JCCI, according to him, is targeting the Saudis as well as the people from the Gulf region. Jeddah will serve them for multi-purpose activities.
He said that with the participation of six major malls and a number of companies and shopping stores, visitors will find numerous activities as theater, entrainment programs, fireworks, artistic performance, contests, competitions, games and a large discounted sale.
The annual fair will bring in great opportunities too for good investment in Jeddah, as the city is the commercial hub of the country, he said.
Many gifts on the occasion will be distributed that will include six cars and more than 20,000 other gifts that will be given out every day at different locations, he told the media.
“At JCCI we are helping and pushing for the new trends, festivals and entertainment with shopping and cultural activities. The Jeddah municipality, health sector, and Jeddah traffic department are with us in helping and supporting for a smooth and successful festival,” he said.
JCCI General Secretary Adnan bin Husain Mandoura said the festival, combined with the opening of new North Corniche, will bring a new wave of enjoyment in the western region. The North Corniche has been refurbished with facilities meeting international standards of family tourism.
The month-long festival will be a great seasonal occasion for shopping, entrainment, hotels, resorts, tourists and business, the different activities will take place in major shopping malls, and on Corniche throughout the month,” said Mandoura.
“We are grateful for the cooperation of our stake holders, and with the new look of the Western Jeddah we are expecting it to be a more successful, which will set a new record,” he added.
He also said that the main focus of this spring break festival will be to make Jeddah the first and foremost shopping destination.
Ibrahim Dahlan, the deputy general secretary, said that retail sales last year grew to 70 percent, and this year with the participation of 2,000 shops and six malls the fair is expecting to have a bigger sale.
Dahlan also said that JCCI will try to organize more festival with the cooperation of Supreme Commission for Tourism to promote domestic tourism, as festivals will be held on Eid-ul-fitr and Haj holidays.
Visitors can log on Jeddah festival website for festival information and activities; the information will also be available on twitter, facebook and YouTube.

Height of adventure: Treading the ‘Edge of the World’ near Riyadh

Updated 19 April 2018

Height of adventure: Treading the ‘Edge of the World’ near Riyadh

  • Cliffs in Tuwaiq were formed as a result of the movement of the Arabian plate toward the northeast because of the spread of the Red Sea rift
  • Several prominent Saudi tour companies offer daylong excursions to the site

Thrill seekers and fitness gurus all over the Kingdom will be pleased to know that their choices for weekend activities have increased. 

Several tour operators in Riyadh have started offering trips to the area known as the Edge of the World, making the location more accessible than ever.

With the country’s obesity rates on the rise and many citizens growing more concerned about their physical health and stress levels, people are seeking ways to maintain their fitness without having to restrict themselves to the monotony of a gym routine.

One such solution that has steadily increased in popularity over the past year is hiking, which many have embraced as being much more exciting and fulfilling than spending hours on the treadmill. And most popular of all for hiking and other fitness activities in a natural setting is the magnificent landmark of Jabal Fihrayn, more commonly known as the Edge of the World.

Described as a “window framed by rock,” the Edge of the World offers stunning views of the valley below, a lush grove of acacia trees teeming with wildlife and vegetation. The spot is well-known for being a favorite of visiting picnickers.

Hikers can choose from several trails of varying levels of difficulty, making their way to the top of the Tuwaiq escarpment to take in the magnificent views at the top of the trail, where the colossal cliff faces drop off to reveal the dizzying height from the valley below. In addition to the rich wildlife unique to the location, you can also find samples of fossilized coral and raw mineral deposits in certain areas of the valley.

The cliffs in the areas were formed as a result of the tectonic movement of the Arabian plate toward the northeast because of the spread of the Red Sea rift situated 1,000 km to the west of Tuwaiq.

Due to the increasing popularity of the site, the authorities have built a hardtop that leads to the gates of the sites and arrangements are in place to protect the area and its natural treasures. 

Several prominent Saudi tour companies offer daylong excursions to the site. The more intrepid explorer also has the option to go alone; though past visitors recommend that solo travelers take an all-terrain, 4x4 vehicle and extra precaution. Visitors can spend the day at the site and leave before 6 p.m. (when the gates are closed for the night) or stay behind for a night of camping to enjoy the sunset and the breathtaking celestial views of a star-studded night sky.

Nora Alfard, amateur hiking enthusiast and two-time visitor to the location, was quick to offer praise about her trip. 

“The trip out there was a bit tiring, but totally worth it,” she said. “The views are stunning, and the hiking itself is not that difficult. Most people should be able to make it to the top without too much trouble.” She said she was likely to go a third time, and encouraged others to do the same.

The Edge of the World is roughly 100km northwest of Riyadh, about 1.5 hours’ drive from the capital. Visitors should be prepared for at least 30 minutes of hiking, possibly more depending on your trail and your level of fitness and experience. Previous visitors recommend bringing water and snacks, and stress the importance of dressing appropriately — hiking shoes only!


What is hiking?

Hiking means a long, vigorous walk, usually on trails in the countryside. Day hikers generally carry at least food, a map or a GPS navigation device.