Fertile market: Saudi farms ready to welcome tourists

A Saudi man inspects dates at his farm in Buraidah. (AFP)
Updated 28 April 2018
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Fertile market: Saudi farms ready to welcome tourists

  • Agritourism in the Kingdom could create a new tourist market, says SCTH official
  • More than 80 licenses for agricultural tourism have been issued throughout the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s farmers will be encouraged to open their farms to visitors under plans to diversify tourism in the Kingdom and take advantage of the worldwide popularity of agritourism.
Farm stays and rural tourism represent a growing market around the globe, and the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) is working with other government agencies to benefit from the opportunities it offers as part of Vision 2030 plan to reform the economy.
Majed Al-Sheddi, SCTH director general of media relations, said the commission’s partners included the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs (MoMRA), Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, and the Agricultural Development Fund (ADF).
Agritourism in the Kingdom could create a new tourist market, strengthen social and cultural ties between different communities and bridge the gap between urban and rural populations, Al-Sheddi said.
The Agricultural and Rural Tourism Project, Aryaf, recently met with SCTH team members to review a plan adopted by SCTH President Prince Sultan bin Salman.
Discussions focused on the licensing of small properties in regions and cities, the protection and licensing of farms with historic significance, such as Aryaf Unaizah and Al-Diriyah farms; and licensing of agricultural and rural tourism operators.
The Aryaf initiative aims to increase jobs and improve income for farmers through agritourism, allowing them to develop their products and tourism activities in a way that boosts local economies.
Agricultural and rural tourism workshops for entrepreneurs and farmers have been organized by the SCTH in all Saudi provinces. More than 80 licenses for agricultural tourism have been issued in Riyadh, Qassim, Al-Ahsa, Hail, Tabuk, Najran, Jeddah, Madinah and Taif.
The SCTH believes agritourism represents a fertile environment for future development and investment in the Kingdom in line with Vision 2030 as it will help both farmers and the tourists.
Agriculture and rural tourism will also strengthen coherence between city dwellers and the rural population by sharing the Kingdom’s potential and accomplishments among different regions, the SCTH said.


Exhibition showcases expansions of Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah

Those wishing to see the exhibition must send a request confirming the date of the visit, which can be from Sunday to Thursday. (SPA)
Updated 53 sec ago
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Exhibition showcases expansions of Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah

  • During the Saudi era, the mosque witnessed a great expansion during the reign of King Abdul Aziz in 1953
  • The mosque’s ongoing expansion is in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, which aims to provide as many pilgrims as possible with the opportunity to easily perform their rituals

JEDDAH: An exhibition in Madinah, organized by the General Presidency of the Prophet’s Mosque, is showcasing the mosque’s expansions since its establishment by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
“The exhibition, in the southern part of the mosque, highlights its expansions throughout history with 50 paintings, photographs, presentations, models and documentaries in Arabic and English,” said Faez Al-Faez, the exhibition’s director.
“The exhibition also includes copies of manuscripts, a model of the Prophet’s ring, photos of his letters and 200-year-old Qur’ans,” he added.
“The exhibition includes the most important books about Madinah, and a hall where visitors are shown a 20-minute video about the stages during which the mosque witnessed expansions since the prophet’s era,” Al-Faez said.
“The Prophet Muhammad was the first to expand the mosque in 628, followed by Caliph Omar bin Al-Khattab in 638. The mosque was later expanded in the years 651, 710, 778, 782, 1483, 1849 and 1861,” he added.
“During the Saudi era, the mosque witnessed a great expansion during the reign of King Abdul Aziz in 1953,” Al-Faez said.
“The expansions and development projects continued until King Salman ordered the completion of the expansion of the eastern and western sides in 2015,” he added.
“King Salman’s interest in this matter reflects the attention and keenness of the kings of Saudi Arabia to serve the visitors of Madinah, especially those visiting the Prophet’s Mosque, which holds a special place in the hearts of all Muslims,” Al-Faez said.
“The mosque’s ongoing expansion is in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, which aims to provide as many pilgrims as possible with the opportunity to easily perform their rituals,” he added.
Those wishing to see the exhibition must send a request confirming the date of the visit, which can be from Sunday to Thursday.
Visitors praised the details of the mosque’s construction and expansions, and commended the Kingdom’s constant efforts since the reign of its founder King Abdul Aziz to take care of and expand the mosque.