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Saudi pavilion at world travel expo a big draw

The Saudi Tourism pavilion at the ongoing World Travel Market (WTM) 2014 in London is witnessing a huge turnout of visitors, including a rush of VIPs expressing their admiration of the Kingdom’s persistent efforts to preserve its rich heritage, as well as it ability to simultaneously integrate into modern times.
A spokesman for the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) said Thursday that Taleb Rifai, secretary-general of the World Tourism Organization (WTO), paid a visit on Wednesday to the Saudi pavilion and was received by Hamad Al-Semael, assistant vice president of SCTA for investment and tourism development. In a statement later, Rifai said: “I am delighted with such an impressive level of participation by the Kingdom.”
Mahmoud Al-Zubaidi, head of the tourism at the Iraqi Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, also visited the pavilion on Wednesday and said: “I am very pleased that the Saudi pavilion has the full participation of Arab countries, making this exhibition highly prestigious.”
On Tuesday, Sheikh Khalid bin Hamoud Al-Khalifa, a top official from the Bahraini Ministry of Culture, visited the pavilion, commenting on the continuing efforts of the SCTA in the development of the tourism sector and Saudi national heritage.
Rola Maayah, minister for tourism in Palestine, who was accompanied by the Palestinian ambassador to the United Kingdom, Manuel Hassassian, visited the pavilion on Tuesday. She later remarked: “I am delighted to be here, as the Kingdom’s support to the tourism movement in the region is very important. Saudi Arabia is a storehouse of history and civilization and has all the right ingredients to attract large number of tourists from across the world.”
Since the inauguration of WTM on Monday, the Saudi pavilion has, so far, received thousands of visitors of different nationalities who viewed exhibits and photos that illustrate Saudi history, nature and culture, according to an SCTA official.
Among other things, the pavilion highlights existing architectural projects in the Kingdom, shedding light on the Kingdom’s persistent efforts to preserve its ancient and deep-rooted heritage. The pavilion’s design is inspired by Jeddah’s historical buildings, which recently joined the UNESCO world heritage list, and its design showcases the elements of modernity in Saudi urban heritage while inspiring an artistic touch of heritage from the arches and Arabesque, creating a special dimension at the venue.
The pavilion is also enjoying the attention of the media, including British and international television networks, as well as amateur photographers.
Apart from the SCTA, a number of Saudi travel, tourism and hospitality companies are participating in the event to introduce Saudi tourist sites, destinations and services carried out by the companies in the travel and tourism sector for people who want to visit the Kingdom.

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