KSA’s Eastern Province residents welcome Sharqiah Season visitors from far and wide

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Sharqiah Season is the first of 11 scheduled festivals planned across the country in 2019. (SPA )
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Sharqiah Season is the first of 11 scheduled festivals planned across the country in 2019. (SPA )
Updated 19 March 2019
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KSA’s Eastern Province residents welcome Sharqiah Season visitors from far and wide

  • The Sharqiah Seasonfeatures over 80 events in cities acrossf the Kingdom's Eastern Province
  • Events in the upcoming weekends feature sports events as as well as concerts

RIYADH: Residents of the Eastern Province are no strangers to foreign visitors — the nation’s oil heartland has been welcoming them for years. But more have been arriving with the opening of Sharqiah Season, featuring over 80 events across the region’s cities.

Organized as a collaborative effort by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage alongside the General Entertainment Authority, the General Culture Authority and the General Sports Authority, it is the first of 11 scheduled festivals planned across the country in 2019.

Faisal Al-Rayisi, an employee at King Fahd International Airport in Dammam, told Arab News he was surprised by the number of people arriving for the festival. 

“People are not only coming from Saudi Arabia, but from all over the Gulf as well — Kuwait and the UAE in particular,” he said. “I’ve even seen foreigners from Europe and Asia coming through. Time was, we used to go to Dubai for our entertainment, but now people from Dubai are coming to us.”

He also mentioned how happy he was to see the festivities coming to the Eastern Province. “Jeddah has this slogan, ‘Jeddah is different,’ but now that we’re seeing the first Sharqiah Season in our region, and all of these amazing activities and concerts are happening here, I think we can safely say ‘Sharqiah is different’ now.”

The Sharqiah festival aims to deliver an extensive entertainment experience for both Saudis and visitors to the Kingdom.

The festival features events in Eastern Province cities, including Dammam, Dhahran, Alkhobar, Al-Ahsa and Jubail. Future seasons will focus on different areas of Saudi Arabia, with different entertainment options for each city. Upcoming seasons will focus on different areas, and also different parts of the year, such as Ramadan, Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha.

Turki Al-Sheikh, chairman of the General Entertainment Authority, said in a statement that  the organization’s participation in the festival aligns with its goal of improving the quality of life in the Kingdom, and discovering local talent in various entertainment industries.  

He also highlighted the importance of the entertainment sector and its contribution to the economy and the creation of jobs for locals, all important aspects of Vision 2030.

The opening night of Sharqiah Season on Thursday drew crowds of Saudis to the Alkhobar Corniche, despite strong winds and sprinklings of rain earlier in the day. Groups of friends stopping to take selfies and families with young children in tow wandered through the Entertainment Boulevard, lined with food stalls selling karak and koshari.

Earlier in the day, the mega event began with the opening of an exhibit featuring the work of Leonardo da Vinci at the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra). 

The exhibit showcased some of Da Vinci’s original sketches, with several screens showing videos detailing how his designs have continued to inspire scientists and inventors in the modern era.

Sharqiah Season continues until March 30, with upcoming weekends featuring sports events such as the Red Bull Air Race and the Formula 1 H20 boat race, as well as concerts in Dammam featuring Akon, Deadmau5, Pitbull and French Montana.


Abdul-Mahdi: Relations between Iraq and GCC ‘must progress’

Updated 43 min 59 sec ago
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Abdul-Mahdi: Relations between Iraq and GCC ‘must progress’

  • Abdul-Mahdi and Al-Zayani discussed the development of relations between Iraq and GCC countries and issues of mutual interest
  • Abdul-Mahdi also attended the Saudi-Iraqi Business Forum, which included representatives from large Saudi companies

RIYADH: Relations between Iraq and the Gulf Cooperation Council are important and “must progress, ” Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi said on Thursday.
On the second day of his visit to Saudi Arabia, Abdul-Mahdi met with the secretary general of the GCC, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani in Riyadh.
Abdul-Mahdi and Al-Zayani discussed the development of relations between Iraq and GCC countries and issues of mutual interest.
“Cooperation and economic relations must progress for the better,” Abdul-Mahdi said.

Saudi Arabia and Iraq have agreed to cooperate in security and intelligence matters, Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Ali Al-Hakim told Al Arabiya television. 
Meanwhile, Abdul-Mahdi also attended the Saudi-Iraqi Business Forum, which included representatives from large Saudi companies.
He also inaugurated an exhibition on Wednesday called “Cities Destroyed by Terrorism” that is showing at the National Museum in Riyadh. The exhibition was organised by the Minister of Culture and the Arab World Institute in Paris.
The Iraqi prime minister arrived in Riyadh on Wednesday for a two-day visit to the Kingdom. He held talks with King Salman on relations between the two countries, and later met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.


His visit to the Kingdom “symbolizes the Iraqi government's vision in aiming to bolster ties with the Kingdom in all fields,” the Iraqi prime minister said on Facebook.
The two countries signed 13 agreements and memorandums of understanding between their various ministries. The deals covered many areas including energy, education, culture and political consultation.