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.


Saudi Aramco recognized as a leader in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Updated 22 January 2019
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Saudi Aramco recognized as a leader in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

JEDDAH: Saudi Aramco’s Uthmaniyah Gas Plant (UGP) has been recognized by the World Economic Forum (WEF) as a “Lighthouse” manufacturing facility and a leader in technology applications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 
Saudi Aramco is the first energy company globally to be included in this select group of manufacturing sites. The plant is also the only facility in the Middle East to be recognized by WEF. 
The announcement was made ahead of WEFs annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
The gas plant is one of the world’s largest gas processing plants and was commissioned in 1981 as part of Saudi Aramco’s Master Gas System to process associated gas from oil wells. 
The use of drones and wearable technologies to inspect pipelines and machinery has helped cut inspection time by 90% in this industrial facility.
“The recognition of the Uthmaniyah Gas Plant demonstrates Saudi Aramco’s shift to transform and adapt in the rapidly changing global energy landscape. Uthmaniyah is only one part of our large integrated energy value chain where IR 4.0 technologies are playing a critical role to enable significant capital and operational efficiencies,” said Amin H. Nasser, Chief Executive Officer of Saudi Aramco.
The seven new facilities join nine other “Manufacturing Lighthouses” which WEF unveiled in September 2018. The 16 factories were selected from an initial list of 1,000 manufacturers based on their successful implementation of cutting-edge technologies of the future that drive financial and operational impact.
The “Lighthouse” program was conducted by WEF in collaboration with McKinsey during a year-long study. A study team visited UGP in Saudi Arabia and performed a thorough audit.