Saudi Arabia’s road to profound changes, in the eyes of outsiders

All Saudi Arabian resources mixed with modern methods can really take the country somewhere, says resident. (SPA)
Updated 23 September 2018

Saudi Arabia’s road to profound changes, in the eyes of outsiders

  • The major changes that had a positive impact were cinemas opening and women driving, as these are things the community has been waiting for a long time

JEDDAH: As the National Day of Saudi Arabia approaches, the people of the Kingdom gear up in green to celebrate it. As excited as Saudi nationals are, expats living in the country also play their part in celebrating National Day.
Arab News made contact with some expats in Saudi Arabia to hear an outsider’s view on the transforming country.
A 66-year-old Yemeni expat living here for half a century, Salman has seen changes occur in front of his very eyes, “All the changes are moving toward a better Kingdom, for the perfect effect we will need to wait 10 or 15 more years.”
He added: “Saudi Arabia is a country rich in resources. All its resources mixed with modern methods can really take the country somewhere.”
Sarmad Hassan from Pakistan, who has lived in the Kingdom for 9 years, says, “The major changes that had a positive impact were cinemas opening and women driving, as these are things the community has been waiting for a long time.
“I had expected the changes for some time now because they were required to make a better country in the long run.
“Change is always good, it is usually hard to accept changes when they first happen but with time everything will get back to normal. To carry out the KSA’s ambitious welfare and development projects, changes which would add value to the economy are required.”
Amin-Al-Mrstani, a Syrian expat living in Saudi Arabia for 33 years, commented: “I never thought that the changes would happen, but they did happen and most of them are good.
“The further changes that I would like are to stop the shops closing during prayer time and better maintenance of the main roads and cities, which needs more attention.” Other than that, I personally enjoy the music events, cinemas and ladies driving the most.”
Salman Latif, a Pakistani for whom Saudi Arabia is a second home and who was born and brought up in the kingdom, commented: “I never really thought Saudi Arabia would become this flexible and change so much in favor of women. Personally, I am looking forward to more events here.”
Willy de Guzman, 65, from Philippines, says: “I have been here for 27 years, I hope the economy becomes better. In my opinion if that problem is tackled the Saudis have the best security so better things can be expected from the future of Saudi economy.”
In conclusion, it is safe to say that the expats living in Saudi Arabia are keen to see where the current unfolding of events is going to lead and are rooting for the best for the nation and themselves.


Saudi tourism megaproject aims to turn the Red Sea green

Updated 20 October 2019

Saudi tourism megaproject aims to turn the Red Sea green

  • Development will protect endangered hawksbill turtle, while coral research could help save the Great Barrier Reef

RIYADH: Key ecological targets are driving Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea tourism megaproject, its leader has told Arab News.

The development will not only protect the habitat of the endangered hawksbill turtle, but could also save coral reefs that are dying elsewhere in the world, said Red Sea Development Company Chief Executive John Pagano.

The project is taking shape in a 28,000 square kilometer region of lagoons, archipelagos, canyons and volcanic geology between the small towns of Al-Wajh and Umluj on the Kingdom’s west coast.

One island, Al-Waqqadi, looked like the perfect tourism destination, but was discovered to be a breeding ground for the hawksbill. “In the end, we said we’re not going to develop it. It shows you can balance development and conservation,” Pagano said.

Scientists are also working to explain why the area’s coral reef system — fourth-largest in the world —  is thriving when others around the world are endangered.

“To the extent we solve that mystery, the ambition would be to export that to the rest of the world,” Pagano said. “Can we help save the Great Barrier Reef or the Caribbean coral that has been severely damaged?”

 

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