Saudi tourism commission launches ‘Destination for Muslims’ initiative

Rain or shine, Al Baha's province in the Kingdom's southwest is always a sight to behold. Saudi Arabia has plenty of attractions to offer to offer to Muslim tourists, in addition to the holy sites in Makkah and Madinah. (SPA)
Updated 06 May 2018
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Saudi tourism commission launches ‘Destination for Muslims’ initiative

  • Saudi Arabia has launched the “Destination for Muslims” initiative to make Kingdom the preferred destination for Muslim tourists from all around the world.
  • Saudi Arabia has launched the “Destination for Muslims” initiative targeting Umrah visitors, Muslim businesspeople, state guests from other Muslim countries, and Muslim transit passengers.

JEDDAH: The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) has launched an initiative to make Saudi Arabia the preferred destination for Muslim tourists from all around the world.

According to SCTH spokesman Saud Al-Mogbil, all the initiatives of the National Transformation Program 2020 demand a model of private/public sector partnership (PPP). 

“SCTH is building a productive PPP initiative that will transform the national tourism sector and contribute significantly to Saudi Vision 2030,” he told Arab News. 

He added that the SCTH is linking up with key partners such as the ministries of interior, foreign affairs, Hajj and Umrah and the Saudi Arabian Airlines.

“SCTH President Prince Sultan bin Salman is the mastermind of this initiative, whose program stems from the Saudi Vision 2030, the transformation plan which has identified tourism as one of the strategic sectors with the most potential to deliver lasting economic benefits and positive social changes in a post-oil economy,” Al-Mogbil said.

Al-Mogbil noted that the “Destination for Muslims” initiative will enable Umrah travelers to enrich their visit by enjoying high-quality tourism products once they have completed their religious rituals. It will also enhance investment opportunities in the tourism sector, he said.

Al-Mogbil explained that the initiative primarily targets four important groups: Umrah visitors, Muslim businesspeople, state guests from other Muslim countries, and Muslim transit passengers.

“Its success, however, is closely related to several other areas of focus by the SCTH such as exhibitions and conferences, cultural heritage and wellness tourism,” he said.

Al-Mogbil added: “To cater for such a broad range of activities, SCTH is engaged in an ambitious development program of infrastructure and training to create a tourism environment that can deliver these tourism experiences.”


Innovative Saudi cultural center showcases world-famous ‘The Scream’ artist’s exhibition

Updated 58 min 49 sec ago
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Innovative Saudi cultural center showcases world-famous ‘The Scream’ artist’s exhibition

  • 40 works by Edvard Munch go on display for first time in Middle East

DHAHRAN: A dynamic Saudi cultural center is to showcase the works of one of the world’s most famous painters in an exhibition-first for the Middle East.

Forty pieces by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, best known for his iconic “The Scream” painting, will go on public display at the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra).

The special exhibition, titled “Landscapes of the Soul,” is the latest in a series of high-profile cultural events to be staged at the showpiece exhibition in Dhahran.

Developed by Saudi Aramco with the aim of stimulating knowledge, creativity and cross-cultural engagement, Ithra’s theater, museum, exhibition hall and art gallery complex forms a key part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan to promote culture and entertainment.

The Munch exhibition, which runs until Sept. 3, portrays the artist’s personal life experiences of misery, love, despair, loneliness and reflections of the soul, through his distinctive works.

“It is such an honor to host and introduce to Saudi Arabia, and indeed, the Middle East, the work of the world-renowned artist Edvard Munch,” Rania Biltagi, Ithra’s head of communications and partnership, told Arab News.

Munch’s (1863-1944) original exhibition has been located in Oslo, Norway since 1963, and the Saudi display is being staged in Ithra’s Great Hall in partnership with the Munch Museum in Norway.

As well as a lithograph version of his most famous painting “The Scream,” other works on show will include “Summer Night. The Voice,” 1894, “Self-Portrait,” 1895, and “The Sick Child,” 1896.

“A moment that stood out from the opening was when speaking to a couple visiting the exhibit, they mentioned that they were Norwegian and working in Saudi,” Biltagi said. “They explained that they had never had the chance to visit the Munch Museum in their homeland and what an unexpected pleasure it was to be able to see Munch’s work in Saudi.”

Biltagi added that the event epitomized the aim of Ithra in providing a platform to bring together cultures as well as people.

The center, featured in Time magazine’s list of the world’s top 100 places to visit, is a pioneer on the Kingdom’s culture and arts scene, organizing a variety of events, performances, programs and experiences to suit all ages and backgrounds. Previous exhibitions have included a focus on Saudi contemporary art, Leonardo da Vinci, and installations symbolizing creativity and innovation.