Saudi Arabia to become ‘a tourism magnet’

Saudi Arabia has been praised for projects to enhance tourism in the country. (Supplied)
Updated 19 January 2019
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Saudi Arabia to become ‘a tourism magnet’

  • International tourism projects in line with Vision 2030 include the Al-Qadiya development to build the largest recreational city in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has won praise for a series of Vision 2030 megaprojects that “will put the Kingdom on the world tourism map.”
Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary-general of the UN World Tourism Organization, highlighted the Kingdom’s efforts to develop its tourism sector during talks with Ahmad Al-Khatib, chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH).
Both sides discussed extending the partnership between the UN organization and Saudi Arabia to further strengthen tourism initiatives in the Kingdom.
International tourism projects in line with Vision 2030 include the Al-Qadiya development to build the largest recreational city in Saudi Arabia, and megaprojects such as Al-Ula and Al-Diriyah Gate to restore a UNESCO site.
The projects “will put the Kingdom on the world tourism map and help it realize its vision of becoming a major global tourist destination,” Pololikashvili said. 
He congratulated Al-Khatib on his appointment as SCTH chairman, and accepted an invitation to view the Kingdom’s latest projects and tourism events.


Gruelling Dakar Rally route through Saudi Arabia’s ‘captivating’ deserts revealed by Sports Authority

Updated 25 April 2019
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Gruelling Dakar Rally route through Saudi Arabia’s ‘captivating’ deserts revealed by Sports Authority

AL-QADDIYA: More details about the Dakar Rally expected to take place in January 2020 in Saudi Arabia were released on Thursday by the Kingdom's General Sports Authority at an event in Al-Qaddiya.

The race starts on Jan. 5 in Jeddah, with the drivers set to race through Al-Madinah, Tabuk and Ha’il regions before a having a rest day in Riyadh. From the capital, the route winds its way back toward the coast through the Asir region and ends in the city of Al-Qaddiya on Jan. 12.

Speaking at the event, the chairman of the General Sports Authority (GSA) Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal announced a 10-year partnership with the Dakar Rally, saying: "We want the world to see the captivating desert of Saudi Arabia and to get to know the good and hospitable people of the Kingdom that looks forward to receiving the world.

“Our country is extremely passionate about sport and our strategic goal is to feed that appetite as we move further towards achieving Vision 2030 of which sport is a basic pillar.

“In hosting Dakar Rally we aim to produce an unbelievable and unforgettable experience for drivers as they discover the beauty of Saudi nature and a unique spectacle for motorsport fans not only in Saudi Arabia but also in the region and around the world.”

It was announced earlier this month that the race would be held in Saudi Arabia, and for the first time in the Middle East.

The Dakar has been held in South America since 2009. The gruelling multi-stage rally was previously held in Africa but was relocated after terrorist threats in Mauritania in 2008.

Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Abdullah Al-Faisal, chairman of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation, said when the race announcement was made: “I have always wanted to participate in Dakar Rally, while I wasn’t fortunate to achieve that ambition, I’m now part of achieving a much bigger dream for my country as Dakar comes to the Middle East region for the first time ever.”

CEO of Qiddiya project Michael Reininger said: "Qiddiya will soon become the centre of the motorsports world by virtue of an unparalleled collection of on track and off road facilities and a set of experiences and events that have never been assembled in one place before.”

The CEO of the rally's organizing company, Amaury Sport Organization, Yann Le Moenner thanked the princes for their commitment to bringing the rally to Saudi Arabia, adding: “Crossing the best deserts of the world has always been in the DNA of the Dakar, to discover and share.”

Meanwhile, the drivers involved in the rally have been in Saudi Arabia soaking up local culture and experiencing some of the desert landscapes they will drive through in January.