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.


Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

The end of the driving ban is expected to help bring an economic windfall for Saudi women. (Shutterstock)
Updated 23 June 2018
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Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

  • The historic move is a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Saudi Arabia, says businesswoman
  • A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market

The end of the driving ban will boost women’s financial power and allow them to play a bigger role in economic and social diversification in line with Vision 2030, prominent businesswomen said on Friday.

Hind Khalid Al-Zahid was the first Saudi woman designated as an executive director — for Dammam Airport Company — and also heads the Businesswomen Center at the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

She sees the historic move as a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Kingdom.

“Women being allowed to drive is very important; of course this will help a lot in sustainable development as the lifting of the ban on women driving came as a wonderful opportunity to increase women’s participation in the workforce,” she told Arab News on Friday, ahead of the end of the ban on Sunday.

She added that women in the job market are under-represented; they make up to 22 percent of the national workforce of about six million according to official estimates. Lifting the ban will help to take women’s representation in the workforce to 30 percent by 2030, she said.

“This is not just the right thing to do for women’s emancipation, but also an essential step in economic and social development as part of the reforms,” she said.

She said that there were different obstacles in increasing women’s participation in the workforce and other productive activities, and the driving ban was one of them. It was a strategic issue that needed to be addressed on a priority basis. With the issue resolved, it would help immensely in giving Saudi women better representation as they would help to diversify the Saudi economy and society.

She said that women could contribute hugely to the workforce and labor market as half of Saudi human resources were female, and unless allowed to excel in different sectors it would not be possible to do better, mainly because of restricted mobility.

A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market.

Nouf Ibrahim, a businesswoman in Riyadh, said: “It will surely boost female economic participation and help increase women’s representation in the workforce immensely. It will also help to reduce the overall national unemployment rate as most of the unemployed are women and many of them are eligible as university graduates.”

She echoed the opinion that the move would help to bring an economic windfall for Saudi women, making it easier for them to work and do business, and thus play a bigger and better role that would help economic and social diversification in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

“Being able to drive from Sunday onwards after the ban is lifted will be a wonderful experience. Earlier we were dependent on a male family member and house driver to take us to workplace, to the shopping center, school or other required places for some work, now we can drive and that will allow active participation in productive work,” Sulafa Hakami, a Saudi woman working as the digital communication manager with an American MNC in Riyadh, told Arab News.

“Saudi women can now share effectively the bigger and better responsibilities,” she said.