World’s biggest camel festival helps make Saudi city top tourist destination

Around 12,000 camels from throughout Saudi Arabia and other Gulf and Arab countries are competing in 439 categories for prizes worth $11.2 million. (SPA)
Updated 01 September 2019

World’s biggest camel festival helps make Saudi city top tourist destination

  • The Taif region makes a big contribution to generating Kingdom’s economic growth

TAIF: The world’s biggest camel sports event has helped to turn a Saudi city into one of the Kingdom’s top tourist destinations.

Taif, which will continue to play host to the Crown Prince Camel Festival until Sept. 14, is helping to lead the country’s drive to develop domestic and international tourism.

Around 12,000 camels from throughout Saudi Arabia and other Gulf and Arab countries are competing in 439 categories for prizes worth SR42 million ($11.2 million).




Taif is home to the ancient Okaz market located at the crossroads of historical trade and Hajj routes. (SPA)

Camel markets in Taif governorate have witnessed a marked increase in prices for the animals in recent months, with many camel owners benefiting from participating in races to promote their stock and buy or sell camels and related products.

And the boom in business has had a knock-on effect on commercial activities elsewhere in Taif.




Taif is home to the ancient Okaz market located at the crossroads of historical trade and Hajj routes. (SPA)

Backed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the festival aims to celebrate and promote the cultural importance of camels, while its growing success also provides a major economic boost to the Kingdom.

Combined with the Taif Season of activities, the region has witnessed a huge increase in visitor numbers, stimulating the local and national economy.




Taif is home to the ancient Okaz market located at the crossroads of historical trade and Hajj routes. (SPA)

One of the reasons the General Sports Authority (GSA), represented by the Saudi Camel Racing Federation (SCRF), selected Taif to stage the camel festival was because it had one of the oldest camel fields in the Arab world.

But the area is also famous for its unique natural sites, moderate climate, adventure sports, culture and heritage.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Taif, which will continue to play host to the Crown Prince Camel Festival until Sept. 14, is helping to lead the country’s drive to develop domestic and international tourism.

• The festival aims to celebrate and promote the cultural importance of camels, while its growing success also provides a major economic boost to the Kingdom.

• Combined with the Taif Season of activities, the region has witnessed a huge increase in visitor numbers, stimulating the local and national economy.

More than 400 mountain peaks, extending from west to southeast Taif, dominate the landscape which, along with numerous historical sites, help make it the primary destination for Arabs during the summer.

Taif is home to the ancient Okaz market located at the crossroads of historical trade and Hajj routes, and the old camel road linking it to Makkah through Al-Hada mountains is also an attraction.

The SCRF has adopted the famous Taif rose as the symbol of the Crown Prince Camel Festival. One of the most important agricultural products in Taif, 470 million roses are grown every year on around 3,000 farms in the area. These are processed in 36 factories to produce traditional Arab perfumes, and the sector is predicting major growth over the coming years.

By drawing tourists from all over the world with its varied attractions and events, Taif has made a big contribution to driving tourism in the Kingdom and generating local economic growth.


Wait is almost over for music fans eager to learn who will headline E-Prix concerts

Updated 13 November 2019

Wait is almost over for music fans eager to learn who will headline E-Prix concerts

  • Organizers promise this year’s line-up of international stars at Diriyah event will be bigger than ever

RIYADH: The first of the major international music acts that will perform at the Diriyah E-Prix this month will be announced on Wednesday.

There were incredible scenes at the event last year when David Guetta, One Republic, the Black Eyed Peas, Amr Diab, Enrique Iglesias and Jason Derulo rocked the UNESCO World Heritage site. About 40,000 fans flocked to the Diriyah Circuit, on the outskirts of Riyadh, for the after-race concerts, the first unsegregated music events in Saudi Arabia

The stage is set for even bigger and better things this year, with the promise of another two nights of unmissable music on Nov. 22 and 23 as the E-Prix racing returns.

“If you were one of the 40,000 who were lucky enough to be part of that watershed moment (last year) for the Kingdom, believe me, you have not seen anything yet,” said Prince Abdul Aziz Al-Faisal Al-Saud, chairman of the General Sports Authority.

“Last year we told people before we announced (the acts) they should get their tickets early to avoid disappointment. Once we revealed who was coming, the tickets sold out incredibly quickly. This year will be the same but even bigger, so for music fans who want to enjoy the biggest concerts in Saudi Arabia, the smart move is to get your ticket now.”

The Diriyah E Prix kicks off the sixth season of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, the world’s premier all-electric motorsport series, with a double header of races. It also marks the start of Diriyah Season, a month of sport, entertainment, art, cultural festivities, food and retail experiences. Tickets for the Diriyah E Prix, which include entry to the after-race concerts, are available at www.diriyahseason.sa.