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.


Arabic anime voice actors prepare for new show at Riyadh expo

Updated 17 November 2019

Arabic anime voice actors prepare for new show at Riyadh expo

  • Waheed Jalal's voice acting as “Treasure Island” antagonist John Silver has captivated generations

RIYADH: Visitors to Riyadh’s first anime expo stopped by the first panel on Saturday unaware that they would be leaving the stage with memories renewed of their favorite voice actors of all time.

Waheed Jalal and Jihad Al-Atrashi will forever live on in the hearts of fans of “Grendizer” and “Treasure Island (Takarajima),” the two shows that introduced the Arab world to anime in the 1970s.

Jalal, whose voice acting as “Treasure Island” antagonist John Silver has captivated generations, expressed how delighted he was to be with the audience.

“I want to thank you and your Kingdom of generosity and culture,” he said.

Al-Atrash, who portrayed Duke Fleed, echoed his sentiments: “You are great people with great values, thank you to the people of the Kingdom that stand next to people of all nations.”

Jalal was touched by the audience’s love and warm welcome, “You guys are the reason we continued this far, without you it wouldn’t have been possible,” he told them.

“We’re persevering to this day because people loved these characters we portrayed so much, our other works pale in comparison,” he added.

Jalal said that the reason “Grendizer” remained with so many people is because of the values and morals depicted in the show, teaching generations to be loyal and loving to their nation and their people.

Artist and creator Ibrahim Al-Lami. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

The voice acting pair talked about the importance of speaking in formal Arabic in these shows. Jalal said it’s because “you’re presenting to the entire Arab world.”

Local dialects would be difficult for others to understand, so we must all aspire to perfect our formal Arabic, added Jalal.

Before concluding the talk, a teaser was played of the first Saudi anime “Makkeen” by artist and creator, Ibrahim Al-Lami, who announced that 60 percent of the work was completed through local efforts.

“We’ll introduce a new work that is by our people, written by our people and voiced by our people,” he said to the audience.

The work will feature characters voiced by Jalal and Al-Atrash, who have become symbolic to the Arab anime world. “I told them, this work wouldn’t be complete without you two,” said Lami on his choice of voice actors. “We want these works to see the light of day. We need to provide the new generations with tales of our own,” added Al-Atrash when asked why he wanted to partake in the anime.