Richard Branson welcomes Saudi move to lift ban on women driving

Richard Branson welcomes Saudi move to lift ban on women driving
Richard Branson in Mada’in Saleh.
Updated 30 September 2017

Richard Branson welcomes Saudi move to lift ban on women driving

Richard Branson welcomes Saudi move to lift ban on women driving

LONDON: British entrepreneur Richard Branson, who recently paid a visit to Saudi Arabia, has praised the move to allow women to drive — and described citizens of the Kingdom as “charming and hospitable.”
The self-made billionaire and founder of the Virgin business empire had a dip in the Red Sea during his trip and visited a railway targeted by Lawrence of Arabia — Branson’s self-confessed childhood “hero.”
“Just enjoyed a fascinating visit to Saudi Arabia, a country where great change is taking place step by step,” Branson wrote in a blog posted Friday.
“It was quite an experience to be there on the day that women were given the right to drive for the first time. In a country where women’s rights still lag behind the West, this was a huge announcement and a much-welcomed sign of progress and one welcomed by every woman we met.
“It’s one of many incremental reforms driven by Saudi Arabia’s young and charismatic Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who, with his father, is committed to moving his country into the modern world, and bringing its citizens with him.”
Branson pointed to Saudi Arabia’s “wonderful, charming and so incredibly hospitable people.”
During his trip he went for a swim in the Red Sea and visited the “incredible” UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mada’in Saleh.
“As a kid if I was asked who my hero was, I would say Lawrence of Arabia. So it was a real treat to visit the railway that was once a target for Lawrence of Arabia in the revolt against Ottoman domination,” he wrote.