Major new Saudi tourism project to get underway

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Al Baha in southern Saudi Arabia is one of the favorite destination of holidaymakers in the Kingdom. (SPA)
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The Al-Haqu heritage site in the southern region of Jazan. (SPA)
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The beautiful Alkhobar Corniche Mosque at sunrise. (Shutterstock)
Updated 01 March 2019

Major new Saudi tourism project to get underway

  • Initiative to play a key role in developing the sector and providing jobs in the process

RIYADH: A major initiative mapping out 11 key tourism seasons for Saudi Arabia has been launched by government officials.

The “Saudi Seasons 2019” program, announced by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), aims to target cultural, sporting, historical and other attractions in the Kingdom likely to draw large numbers of visitors. 

It is hoped the experimental project will provide the road map for future tourism strategies and help to create new job opportunities.

The first of the 11 seasons will focus on the Kingdom’s Eastern Province and is scheduled to get underway in mid-March. Other tourism drives will center on the holy month of Ramadan, Eid Al-Fitr, the cities of Jeddah and Taif, Eid Al-Adha, National Day, the capital Riyadh, Ad Diriyah, Al-Ula, and Hail.

The “Saudi Seasons 2019” initiative is the culmination of collaboration that has been going on since mid-2018 between several Saudi government departments under the leadership of a higher committee headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

The main government bodies that have worked together to draw up the program are the Ministry of Culture, the General Entertainment Authority, the General Sports Authority, and the Saudi Exhibition and Convention Bureau.

The first year of the project includes several programs designed to promote Saudi regions and cities with special cultural, tourist and historical features. Sporting and recreational events will be highlighted too, along with high-quality services such as accommodation and transportation in the targeted centers.

Tourism seasons for 2020 will be announced at the end of this year.

President of the SCTH, Ahmad Al-Khateeb, said the “Saudi Seasons 2019” initiative would play a key role in developing the Kingdom’s tourism sector, providing temporary and permanent jobs in the process.

He said the country was rich with important tourist assets including stunning natural landscapes, original Arab culture, prominent historical sites and well-developed infrastructures.

The commission also announced the launch of an electronic platform to provide visitors with information about the 11 seasons, the events taking place and how to book tickets.


Saudi Arabia implements end to travel restrictions for Saudi women

Updated 20 August 2019

Saudi Arabia implements end to travel restrictions for Saudi women

  • Any person above the age of 21 does not need permission to travel
  • The rules were announced in a royal decree of sweeping reforms last month

RIYADH: New laws that mean Saudi women no longer require permission from a male guardian to travel or obtain a passport came into effect Tuesday.
The rules were announced in a royal decree of sweeping reforms last month. It means adult women can travel feely and exercise more control over family matters.
“The passports and civil status departments and their branches in all regions of the Kingdom have started to implement the amendments stipulated in the royal decree,” Saudi Press Agency reported.
The decree said every Saudi citizen had the right to obtain a passport, and limits the need for a guardian’s approval to minors only. 
The Kingdom has steadily removed some restrictions in recent years, including ending a ban on women driving last year.
The regulatory changes stipulated that a Saudi passport should be issued to any citizen who applies for it and that any person above the age of 21 does not need permission to travel.
They also granted women for the first time the right to register child birth, marriage or divorce and to be issued official family documents and be eligible as a guardian to children who are minors.