Air shows and parades as Saudis make an early start to National Day celebrations

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Three international shows are being staged in Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam. (Shutterstock)
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Air show in Jeddah. (SPA)
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Clowns entertain families at a Jeddah park. (SPA)
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Celebratory mood fills the air in Jeddah. (SPA)
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A diver shows the portraits of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (SPA)
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Send in the clowns: Entertainers in stilts in Saudi costumes. (SPA)
Updated 24 September 2019

Air shows and parades as Saudis make an early start to National Day celebrations

  • Public will be treated to festivals, concerts and firework displays

RIYADH: There’s still a day to go, but the celebrations are already in full swing.

Formations from the Royal Saudi Air Force and the Saudi Hawks aerobatics team took to the skies above Jeddah on Saturday in preparation for National Day on Monday.

Fighter jets bearing the Saudi flag flew in formation past an audience at the North Corniche of the Jeddah waterfront, with their F15s, F15C, Tornado, Typhoon and MRTT refueling aircraft.

Monday’s celebrations will feature more than 40 entertainment, cultural and sporting events and activities across the country, including festivals, concerts and firework displays. 

Major entertainment shows are being staged in Dammam, Jeddah and Riyadh, including a special creation from the famous Balich Worldwide Shows. “Tariq Al-Himma” takes the audience on a journey through Saudi Arabia’s past, present and future.

The hour-long performance at the Green Halls in Riyadh will be from September 21 to 23, starting at 9:30 p.m. each night. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Al-Hamra Corniche in Jeddah is the location for “Star Island” on Sept. 23. Fireworks will fill the sky with a dazzling display accompanied by lighting and laser beams.

Riyadh has been covered in green for National Day celebrations. Major streets are hosting festivities including children’s workshops, restaurants and food stalls. The entrance to the event has been designed to resemble the Masmak Palace gate.

The world’s most popular circus show, Cirque du Soleil, presents a specially created hour-long show for Saudi National Day at the Dhahran Expo in Dammam. Featuring 40 artists performing a variety of acrobatic routines, the show begins at 9 p.m. each night until September 23.

In Arar and Najran, there are folk bands and musical theater performances, as well as handicrafts and products made by Saudi families. Saudi female artists exhibited their paintings of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in West Arar.

Saudi rural tourism recovers after months of forced isolation

Updated 11 July 2020

Saudi rural tourism recovers after months of forced isolation

  • Saudis turn to domestic traveling and flock to their nation’s cooler cities and rural areas

TAIF: As Saudi citizens turn to domestic tourism in the country’s summer resorts, adapting to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, rural areas have become targeted by local tourists wishing to get away from the soaring temperatures in most of the Kingdom’s cities.

Visitors are now choosing cold Saudi cities instead of Europe, which they are accustomed to visiting, such as Taif, Al-Baha, and Abha.

COVID-19 has postponed all plans to travel abroad, and attention has now focused on domestic tourism amid strict health protocols in parks, gardens and recreational areas.

Walid Al-Hamidi, vice president of the Tourism Development Council, confirmed to Arab News that Asir, with its facilities and attractions, was ready to receive summer visitors from across the country.

He said that under the directives of Asir's governor, who supervises all activities and events directly and constantly, many committees had been formed to prepare a successful summer tourism season, to optimize the opportunity and allow people to enjoy the exceptional ambiance of Asir.

“A comprehensive tourism plan was set up two years ago, which resulted in a successful Al-Soudah Season with the support of Asir’s Investment Authority,” Al-Hamidi added.

He noted that Asir’s directives aimed this year to build an exceptional tourism model that meets optimal health standards in dealing with COVID-19.

The model is supported by the “Nashama Asir” team — consisting of 4,000 volunteers — who have been trained for months and have all the necessary skills to make the season successful. Their work will continue until the end of the pandemic and throughout the summer.

“Everyone is ready at public facilities, gardens and parks, to serve tourists,” he said, adding “tourists coming from all the over the Kingdom will be welcomed with smiles, enhanced services, and warm welcomes.”

Dr. Sami Al-Obaidi, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Taif, told Arab News that the tourism sector was the economic backbone of any country or city.

He said that Taif was considered one of the most important tourist cities, given its many attractions  that made it top of any list of places to visit in the Kingdom.

“Suspending travel abroad, and limiting tourism … due to the coronavirus pandemic, makes us, as officials and citizens in Taif, well placed for a beautiful and safe tourism season for Taif’s citizens and visitors,” said Al-Obaidi.

“Meetings are held around the clock, headed by Saad Al-Maimouni, the governor of Taif, with the participation of the relevant authorities.”

He expected all sectors, especially tourism, hospitality and a few other businesses in Taif, to recover to some extent during this season, especially now tourists have already started flocking to the region, with numbers set to increase over the coming weeks.