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.