Saudi Commission of Tourism and National Heritage launches new TV, web platform

Prince Sultan bin Salman. (SPA)
Updated 19 December 2017

Saudi Commission of Tourism and National Heritage launches new TV, web platform

RIYADH: Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission of Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), has announced the launch of a media platform in the Kingdom.
Launched in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Information, the platform aims to encourage innovators to maximize positive content, enrich films and programs on national heritage and tourism, and reflect the distinctive lifestyle in the Kingdom based on the originality and diversity of its different regions while sticking to its values.
The SCTH chief also announced the launch of a TV channel in full partnership with the ministry, Saudi Broadcasting Corp. and other partners to transmit the content under the name of “Live Saudi Arabia” on social media.
The new media platform, which will be launched on Sunday on an experimental basis, will benefit from the huge influx of citizens and students through “Live Saudi Arabia” programs and other tourist e-gates. It will focus on live transmission from different Kingdom sites and allow citizens to interact with their country in a new way, he said. The platform will cover all functions carried out by the SCTH or any other parties.
The SCTH chief expressed appreciation to those who have worked with the SCTH and supported its programs as well as all its partners, including government and private sector companies, which contributed to the promotion of the tourism sector.
“We are currently running a mega-system of projects within the SCTH’s initiatives in the National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020, which found the SCTH ready with its initiatives and projects,” he said.
He said they have invested in the staff and partners, who are considered an integral part of the SCTH, through international trips and training to avoid working separately and individually.
The SCTH chief said citizens want their country to be the first option in their tourist destinations.

Media offices planned
Minister of Culture and Information Awwad Al-Awwad said that up to 30 percent of journalists in the international media set out to harm the Kingdom, while the remaining 70 percent were looking for positive news.
He said the ministry cares for that majority and is keen to cooperate with them and provide them with the required content of news.
Referring to culture, Al-Awwad said the culture earlier focused on specific aspects, which were limited to poetry and prose.
“However, we should not ignore other important aspects of culture such as the film industry, theater, audio arts, popular arts, folklore, and non-material heritage,” he said.
The minister also announced the ministry’s plan to launch a “government liaison center” soon, together with the launching of media and cultural centers in London, Moscow, Berlin, and Paris.
He stressed that the Kingdom is a big country and a center of peace, values and cultures, which has an effective global role. Accordingly, its media, culture, heritage and tourism should cope with its distinguished level, he added.


LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

Updated 15 December 2019

LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

  • Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one

RIYADH: Renowned Italian restaurant Madeo has opened up in Al-Murabba for Riyadh Season. 

The pop-up has started brightly, and head chef Gianni Vietina invited Arab News to sample the menu and chat about his experience.

Vietina, in Saudi Arabia for the first time, said that he loved the location he had set up in, and was very happy to be opening up in the Kingdom. 

“The location is gorgeous. At night, with all the lights on, the music going, it’s very nice.”

Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one and that the response was even better than he had expected. 

“Like anything new, you have quests, you have problems. Up to now, we’re doing pretty good. We are up and running. We’re comfortable now, which is a shame as we’re leaving pretty soon,” he said.

He added that he would repeat the experience in a heartbeat if he could: “They were nice enough to ask me to stay in Saudi a little longer, but I can’t. I need to go back home. But I would love to come back.”

He said that while he was not planning to open up a permanent restaurant in Saudi Arabia, he would not rule it out completely.  “I’ve been offered options, and friends have offered to show me locations while I’m here, but I can’t do it right now, I just opened a new restaurant two months ago,” he said.

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like.”

Gianni Vietina, Head chef of Madeo

The pop-up’s menu contains most of what the original restaurant offers, including his ever-popular penne amadeo and spaghetti bolognese, with the chefs using a combination of imported and locally sourced ingredients. 

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like,” he told Arab News.

For the pop-up, Vietina has stuck to using halal and alcohol-free ingredients. 

“It was challenging at the beginning. But the bolognese at Amadeo doesn’t contain pork, and I realized after we tried cooking without wine that almost nothing changed. I actually prefer it,” he said.

Madeo is a favorite of Saudis visiting Los Angeles, with Vietina going so far as to describe the restaurant as a “Little Riyadh” on most evenings between July and September. 

He even recognizes some of the customers who have come into the Riyadh pop-up, and always stops over to greet them.

Upon sampling the menu, it’s easy to see why the food at Madeo has remained popular all these years. 

The eggplant parmigiana is a perfect blend of crusty cheese and silky smooth eggplant, with hints of basil and rosemary. 

The bolognese is rich, meaty and decadent, without being too heavy and greasy. And the penne Amadeo, which Vietina has been eating since his childhood, is a timeless classic of crushed tomato, basil, finished off with butter and Parmigiano Reggiano for a creamy, rich flavor.