‘Al-Ahsa offers great economic, investment opportunities,’ says Saudi tourism chief

Al-Ahsa plays an essential role in the region’s history. (Photo/Shutterstock)
Updated 20 October 2018
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‘Al-Ahsa offers great economic, investment opportunities,’ says Saudi tourism chief

  • The international recognition is well deserved because the attraction has unique qualities: Prince Sultan
  • Al-Uqair project has all the elements of success and that the project is mainly targeting citizens and residents in the Eastern Province and Riyadh and visitors from the Gulf countries, said the tourism chief

JEDDAH: The addition of Al-Ahsa to the World Heritage List is great economic and an investment opportunity, according to Prince Sultan bin Salman, the president of Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH). 

Speaking during a meeting of authorities concerned with the registration of the site on the UNESCO list, he added that the international recognition is well deserved because the attraction has unique qualities.

He also highlighted the work of the SCTH with its partners on the Al-Uqair tourism development, noting that: “The Al-Uqair project has all the elements of success and that the project is mainly targeting citizens and residents in the Eastern Province and Riyadh and visitors from the Gulf countries. The commission’s studies have confirmed that the Al-Uqair project enjoys great economic value based on a number of axes.

“Al-Ahsa also has various cultural components and products, as the largest palm oasis in the world on the one hand and an authentic historic port on the Arabian Gulf coast on the other.”

Prince Sultan put forward a proposal to restructure the council dealing with Al-Ahsa’s registration, in addition to the formation of a supervisory committee on the development project headed by the governor of Al-Ahsa, and of an executive committee headed by the mayor.

He said that since its inception, the SCTH has made dreams come true by investing in Saudi youth, launching a new industry that will contribute to the national economy and its development, and reorganizing and building economic and social sectors. It has also embraced solid concepts that intersect with ancient culture and heritage and offer more jobs and investment opportunities in all parts of the country, in cities and villages, for people of all ages and levels of education.

Prince Sultan ordered the formation of a working group, headed by himself, to follow up the World Heritage List registration of Al-Ahsa by monitoring projects to restore and renovate historical sites and urban heritage, and develop agricultural tourism, sport and adventure tourism, and “business tourism” programs in coordination with the councils of Tourism Development in the Eastern Province and the province of Al-Ahsa.

Also present at the meeting were Prince Ahmed bin Fahd bin Salman, deputy governor of the Eastern Province, and Prince Badr bin Mohammed bin Jalawi, the governor of Al-Ahsa.


Ronaldinho plans football academy in Jeddah

Updated 54 min 52 sec ago
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Ronaldinho plans football academy in Jeddah

  • Backstage at Misk Global Forum, Brazilian football legend reveals intention to open school some time next year
  • Player offered advice for audience, speaking about the value of teamwork, learning from failure and the rewards of giving back

RIYADH: Ronaldinho plans to open a football academy in Jeddah some time next year, the Brazilian football legend revealed to Arab News backstage in an exclusive interview after his appearance at the Misk Global Forum on Wednesday.

“First of all, I want to say thank you for a warm reception and kindness which I have received from the Saudi people,” he told Arab News. “As for the kids, those who want to be a player some day, dedicate as much as you can and follow your dreams.”

Earlier, Ronaldinho appeared on stage to a chorus of cheers at the end of the day’s sessions, where he gave a talk titled the Discipline – and Fun – of Teamwork. 

”I was lucky enough to be on a team with stars,” he said of his career with European clubs Paris St-Germain, Barcelona and AC Milan, and a World Cup win in 2002 with the Brazilian national team. “We all respected each other.

“For me it was wonderful, because my history with this team and players was a beautiful one: To idolize them and later play with them and later win titles again…”

Ronaldinho said he feels grateful for his God-given talent. “Throughout my career we had a plan, and I always worked hard. God gave me the privilege to play football. It was fun, not a sacrifice.”

“I’ve always liked to have a ball around me, to have contact with the ball.”

His advice for the audience? “Prepare yourself and help your colleague or team member,” he said. “Humility is important. Try to stay humble.”

He also said to train hard, read as much as you can and don’t fear failure. “I failed a lot of times,” he said. “Football is like that. You can’t always win. You have to seek lessons from the defeats and not lose hope.” 

Now that he’s retired, Ronaldinho is more concerned with giving back. “After I stopped playing, I have soccer academies. That’s what I’m proud of, and it has given me pleasure. To give something back (as a)  thanks to football and everything it have given me.”