JEDDAH: ARAB NEWS
Saturday 14 July 2012
Last Update 14 July 2012 2:58 pm
Over two million tourists visited the annual Jeddah Summer Festival 33, which concluded yesterday. As many as 150 activities were held at some 70 fun cities and 360 commercial centers across the city during the 37-day festival with the slogan of “Jeddah Ghair.”
Prizes worth over SR 3 million were distributed among winners of various competitions held as part of the festival in which more than 50 government and private agencies and departments participated. Spectacular displays of fireworks every Thursday evening at Al-Nawras Square in North Corniche and South Obhur were one of the major attractions of the festival.
Jeddah summer festival is the largest in the Kingdom with the highest number of attractions compared to other festivals. The festival also provides large investment opportunities to investors in the tourism sector with the supervision and support of the Makkah Governorate, Jeddah governorate and the the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA). The festival also gives special attention to organize programs for families, children and youths.
An SCTA official complained yesterday that private companies were not providing the SCTA with the necessary cooperation to promote tourism in Jeddah. “It is unfortunate that we do not observe any serious participation of the direct beneficiaries from tourist influx in the development of tourism industry in Jeddah,” SCTA’s Executive Director in Makkah province Muhammad Al-Amri said in a statement to the Al-Jazirah daily. “The major beneficiaries of tourism development are hotels, restaurants, rented apartments, shopping centers, amusement centers and car rental companies.”
Al-Amri underscored the importance of the role of private companies and establishments in the promotion of tourism.
The official also stressed the need for an integrated headquarters for SCTA where conferences and exhibitions could be organized in the province.
He said SCTA had made numerous achievements in the province. “The most significant achievement of SCTA in the Makkah province is laying a popular base for tourism and spreading tourism culture among the people,” he said.
SCTA also succeeded in influencing strategies of the Jeddah Municipality by convincing the municipality to add a tourist angle to its service projects, he said. He cited examples such as the Corniche project, classification of rented apartments on the basis of service quality and organizing of the forums and workshops on tourism awareness among all social sections.
Speaking on SCTA preparations for the summer season in the province, Al-Amri said SCTA completed its preparations to welcome tourists in huge numbers into Jeddah during the summer.
“It is projected that more than five million tourists and visitors, both from inside the Kingdom and other Gulf countries will come to the province during the summer. The estimated figure includes Umrah pilgrims, medical tourists, amusement seekers and business-related visitors. All tourist spots and amusement cities have been equipped to receive visitors since the closure of schools,” he said.
The Jeddah festival administration this year approved more than 150 events for the season besides allocating three buses to take tourists to archeological sites, old souks and commercial centers in the city. There were also sports events and championships as part of the festival with the participation of 1,500 sportsmen. There were dolphin shows, comedy shows, the circus in east Jeddah and children’s shows in indoor stadium. For those interested in literary events, four poetry recitation events and three youth evenings were arranged. Business establishments organized 38 daily contests with expensive prizes such as brand new cars and mobile phone sets.
The SCTA has also opened 10 information centers in tourist arrival points such as the King Abdul Aziz International Airport and commercial centers to assist tourists and visitors.
He said rental apartments are allowed to hike rates during the festival season up to 50 percent of the approved rates for the rest of the year.
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