Uqair project to draw 13m visitors a year

Updated 02 October 2013
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Uqair project to draw 13m visitors a year

Commerce and Industry Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah highlighted the significance of the SR2.5 billion Uqair tourism project in Al-Ahsa, saying it would bring about qualitative improvement in the Kingdom’s tourism industry. The project expected to draw more than 13 million visitors a year.
“It will encourage more investment in trade, industry and small and medium enterprises by young Saudis and contribute to the Kingdom’s diversification drive,” he said, adding that it would also create more job opportunities.
Uqair is considered to be the first ever tourism destination in the Kingdom to be fully adopted by the government. The Cabinet allocated SR1.4 billion to build infrastructure and service facilities. The total investment in the project is expected to cross SR34 billion.
The plan for developing the region was submitted to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah for approval during his visit to Al-Ahsa in 2006. The project was then declared a major multi-purpose coastal tourism destination.
“The project offers an ideal atmosphere for investors,” the minister said, adding that it would give investors good returns. Uqair, which is located along the coast and near heritage sites, will include hotels, residential units, health facilities, educational institutions and recreational centers.
Al-Rabiah said the contribution of the tourism sector to the Kingdom’s gross domestic product rose from SR116.2 billion in 2011 to SR120.5 billion in 2012, which is 5.4 percent of the GDP. He voiced optimism that Uqair would attract domestic and international investments.
“Its proximity to GCC countries and the presence of a seaport and railway system will make the project successful,” Al-Rabiah said.
Uqair project’s investment model is based on a partnership between the public and private sectors. A feasibility study on the project was carried out in collaboration with the Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Al-Ahsa Municipality. Spread across an area of 100 million square meters, including a coastline stretching over 15 km along the Arabian Gulf, Uqair is located about 70 km away from Dammam and Hufouf and about 400 km from Riyadh.
The first phase will include opening several tourism facilities, such as a water park, a motorcar sports center, a water sports center and amusement parks. The complex will have 2,600 furnished apartments and 2,900 hotel rooms.


Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ablaa : A site of archaeological treasures

One of the most important sites in Asir is the Al-Ablaa Center, which contains many treasures that are still being investigated by archaeologists. (SPA)
Updated 26 May 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ablaa : A site of archaeological treasures

  • Al-Ablaa Center contains many treasures
  • Asir attracts people who are interested in archeology and history

JEDDAH: The northwestern and western towns in Asir province are renowned for their large number of historical sites and villages that host Islamic and pre-Islamic monuments and gold mines. 
One of the most important sites is Al-Ablaa Center, which contains many treasures that are still being investigated by archaeologists.
Al-Ablaa is a white mountain overlooking Ranya Valley. The mountain’s name has come to include neighboring archeological sites that are famous for the presence of a market during the pre-Islamic era. 
The market’s remnants are still visible, and the mountain is surrounded by villages and a gold mine.
There are three carved wells at the top of the mountain. The depth of one of them is 80 meters, and was used for metal extraction. 
Asir attracts people who are interested in archaeology and history, said researcher Dr. Mohammed bin Jerman Al-Awaji. 
Work by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) recently revealed the foundations of a mosque dating back to the early Islamic era in Al-Ablaa. The mosque is estimated to have covered an area of 616 square meters.