Jeddah’s revamped waterfront fast becoming top attraction for tourists, residents

A multimillion-dollar facelift has transformed Jeddah’s waterfront. (Photo courtesy: Social media)
Updated 08 March 2018
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Jeddah’s revamped waterfront fast becoming top attraction for tourists, residents

JEDDAH: Less than three months after it opened, the new corniche waterfront along the Red Sea port of Jeddah is fast establishing itself as a favorite weekend attraction for locals and tourists.
The SR800 million ($213.3 million) 4.2-kilometer waterfront has watersport parks, designated beaches, children’s play parks, interactive water fountains, six restaurants, 24 kiosks, a floating marina dock, larger-than-life animal and art sculptures, as well as dozens of designated restrooms and phone-charging stations.
The waterfront development was opened three months ago by Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, who offered words of praise mixed with a warning. “We congratulate the nation on this project. My question to the people of Jeddah is: Will you safeguard it? Or will we hear tomorrow that it is sabotaged?”
The corniche has been a popular Jeddah destination for many years. However, in the past, litter from picnics was a frequent problem on beach areas and adjoining parkland.
Now, with increased tourism and a more diverse local population, Saudis are assuming the role of citizen ambassadors who care deeply about their surroundings.
A Jeddah resident, Layla Hamdan, told Arab News: “For me as a Saudi, it’s about proper representation. Now we are having more tourists visiting Jeddah and sometimes they ask me for information or directions and I try my best to be helpful. If I can’t help, I guide them to someone who can. I want to leave a good impression because some are visiting Saudi Arabia for the first time.”
Along with police supervision, more than 100 surveillance cameras equipped with face-recognition technology have been installed along the waterfront. The cameras are linked to the Public Security Agency control rooms, as well as the municipality.
As an added deterrent, Saudi authorities have announced fines ranging from SR200 to SR5,000 for littering or damage to public utilities and landmarks on the waterfront. Offenders will have to shoulder additional repair costs as well.
Repair work caused by vandalism on the waterfront is now almost nonexistent.
A street cleaner, Niraj Kulkarni, praised the improved cleanliness along the corniche. “Now there are more people, more food vendors, but not so much garbage like before. People are taking care to keep the corniche clean.”
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund recently announced a separate $4.8 billion redevelopment of the corniche that will add 1,200 acres of beach, retail stores, museums, a marina and more than 10,000 residential housing units. Construction is set to begin early next year and is expected to be completed by 2030.


Formula E’s Felipe Massa races ‘fastest animal on planet’ in Saudi Arabia

Updated 9 min 22 sec ago
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Formula E’s Felipe Massa races ‘fastest animal on planet’ in Saudi Arabia

  • ABB FIA Formula E Championship listens to fans by pitting Gen2 car and Felipe Massa in race against a peregrine falcon in Saudi Arabia
  • Spreading his wings for the first time in Formula E machinery, 90-kilometers south-west of the Ad Diriyah, Massa’s mirrors loomed large with the claws of the peregrine falcon

RIYADH: Formula E driver Felipe Massa behind the wheel of a Gen2 racing car has gone up against a peregrine falcon in a straight fight in Saudi Arabia to outrun the fastest animal on the planet.

It’s not the first time the fully-electric Formula E car has been pitted against a member of the animal kingdom, with reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne racing a cheetah on the Western Cape of South Africa last year.

Narrowly edging out the fastest land mammal in 2017, Formula E fans asked for a re-match — but this time together with more stern competition. Listening to the feedback of fans on social media, it was the turn of the peregrine falcon, capable of reaching speeds in excess of 350 km/h (217 mph) when diving through the skies above Saudi Arabia.

Massa was in the Kingdom ahead of the 2018 ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E-Prix, which will see the racing legend line-up on the Formula E starting grid for the first time on December 15 at the stunning UNESCO World Heritage site on the outskirts of Riyadh.

For the battle of man and machine vs the natural world, the winged predator was trained to set its sights on a different kind of prey roaming through the desert — with a lure attached to the roll hoop of the advanced new-look Gen2 car.

Spreading his wings for the first time in Formula E machinery, 90-kilometers south-west of the Ad Diriyah, Massa’s mirrors loomed large with the claws of the peregrine falcon. But did he manage to shake off his opponent?

To watch Felipe and the falcon in flying formation, visit — https://youtu.be/ERxeaV60_7g

Felipe Massa, VENTURI Formula E Team driver, said: “It was an incredible experience for me to race against the fastest member of the animal kingdom — it’s not something I will forget in a hurry. I like the fact that this idea came from the fans, and Formula E listened and accepted the challenge.

“The footage from the drive is very special and it was a privilege to take part. I’m looking forward to returning to Ad Diriyah and to start racing. It’ll be my first race in Formula E and I’m eager to get behind the wheel again. I’ve missed racing and this series has shown to be one of the most competitive out there.”

The 2018 ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E-Prix is the opening round of the 2018/19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship and the competitive debut of the Gen2 car and VENTURI Formula E Team driver Felipe Massa.

As well as Formula E action, exciting fan zones, entertainment and cultural attractions, plus unique dining and retail experiences will be awaiting ticketholders at Ad Diriyah, across three days, starting December 13.

That evening, December 13, will see Enrique Iglesias and Jason Derulo kick off the first of three incredible nights of music concerts for fans. The following day, December 14, Arab music legend Amr Diab and globally-renowned pop band Black Eyed Peas will delight the audience. And, on December 15, race day, following the exhilarating 2018 ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E Prix, US smash hit OneRepublic and superstar DJ/producer David Guetta will bring the event to an electrifying finale.

Only fans holding tickets will be able to access the entire Ad Diriyah site, including all the action, fun, and thrilling complimentary concerts.

Tickets are on sale at http://fiaformulae.com/Ad-Diriyah and are also available at Point of Sale units at Riyadh Park Mall, Oud Square and Doos Carting (only Grandstand tickets from Doos) and Seven Car Lounge.