Saudi ambassador to Britain calls on tourists from around the world to visit the Kingdom

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Asir National Park is home to the Kingdom’s highest peak, Mount Sawda. (Tharik Hussain)
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A new exhibition highlights the beauty and heritage of the Kingdom’s cultural gem. (Supplied)
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Saudi ambassador to the UK Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan speaks at the “The Next Big Destination” international roadshow in London on Nov.7,2019. (Supplied)
Updated 09 November 2019

Saudi ambassador to Britain calls on tourists from around the world to visit the Kingdom

  • Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan was speaking at the “The Next Big Destination” international roadshow hosted by Saudia Airlines in London
  • Ambassador’s comments came after Saudi Arabia launched a new tourist visa scheme

LONDON: Tourists from around the world “are welcome anytime” to visit Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom’s ambassador to the UK said Thursday at an event to promote the country as a major tourist destination.

“We are incredibly excited to open up our home to the world, and we look forward to welcoming many tourists from every part of it to Saudi Arabia,” Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan said.   

Speaking to Arab News at “The Next Big Destination” international roadshow hosted by Saudia Airlines in London, he said he hoped tourists from around the globe would visit “the place that we love so much.”

 

 

The ambassador’s comments came after Saudi Arabia launched a new tourist visa scheme on Sept. 28, which offers visitors from 49 countries a visa on arrival, and enables easier access through the Schengen scheme for others. Tourists can make multiple visits to the Kingdom within a 12 month period, provided each visit does not exceed 90 days. Each visa costs SR440 ($117).

Sultan Otaify, Saudia’s manager in the UK, said the company is “really delighted and excited about all the changes taking place in Saudi Arabia.” He said the London roadshow was the first of many, with more to take place in China, France, and the USA.    

“The aim of these roadshows is to inform and enrich the global market and show tourists what Saudi Arabia can offer. We are telling the world that the next big destination is Saudi Arabia and that they should fly with Saudia.”

“The Kingdom has a huge variety of undiscovered places that the world is eager to visit.”

Otaify also revealed that Saudia Airlines will start operations to Amsterdam on Mar. 29, 2020, and this is part of the plan to increase tourism to the Kingdom.

The recently announced visa system was introduced in a bid to create one million jobs within the Kingdom, as well as targeting 100 million visitors a year by 2030 as part of the Vision 2030 program.

Opening Saudi Arabia to tourism is a cornerstone in the implementation of Vision 2030, which seeks to diversify the country’s economy and reduce its dependence on oil.

The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) is putting on eleven different tourist seasons around the year across the Kingdom. They include the Riyadh Season, AlUla season which features the Winter at Tantora Festival, and Ad Diriyah Season.




Saudi ambassador to the UK Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan speaks at the “The Next Big Destination” international roadshow in London on Nov.7,2019. (Supplied)

Tourism is expected to contribute up to 10 percent of Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product by 2030 compared with just 3 percent before the new tourist visa scheme was announced, the chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) Ahmad Al-Khateeb said.

Outside of religious journeys, the new visa does not exclude any visitor on religious grounds. Until now, most visitors to the Kingdom have been either pilgrims or businesspeople.

One of the tourist destinations that Saudia is encouraging visitors to explore is AlUla, an archeological marvel that boasts golden sandstone canyons, colossal arches, and rock formations.

Charlie Eland, the Royal Commission for AlUla’s tourism promotion manager, said she has seen “amazing interest and appetite from the European market which is a very important market to us.”

“With the opening up of the visa, there’s incredible interest in what the country has to offer and the gems that are there.”

“AlUla is a wonderful region and is really stunning. It’s an undiscovered gem of the world and a very historical site that very few people have been able to see- there is a wealth of history to be seen.”    

Isolated in the desert of the Kingdom’s northwestern region, AlUla has played host to numerous ancient civilizations, from the Neolithic to the Roman to the Ottoman, making it a significant cultural crossroads.  


Abdullah bin Mufreh Al-Dhayabi, president of Tabuk University

Updated 11 December 2019

Abdullah bin Mufreh Al-Dhayabi, president of Tabuk University

  • Al-Dhayabi began his academic career as a lecturer at KAU
  • Al-Dhayabi is a member of the higher committees for female colleges in the Kingdom

RIYADH: Dr. Abdullah bin Mufreh Al-Dhayabi has been the president of Tabuk University since October 2017.

Prior to that, he was the deputy head of educational affairs at King Abdul Aziz University (KAU) in Jeddah, where he served in the position for one year. 

He has also been the chairman of the promotion and job competition committee, as well as the safety committee, at Tabuk University since November 2012. 

Al-Dhayabi began his academic career as a lecturer at KAU, where he received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the College of Science. 

He later traveled abroad to pursue his higher education, earning his master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Missouri, US. He obtained his doctorate from the University of Birmingham, UK.

After that, he returned to the Kingdom and joined KAU as an assistant professor. He remained in that position from 2005 to 2010, then served as an associate professor between 2010 and 2014.

Al-Dhayabi is a member of the higher committees for female colleges in the Kingdom and the community colleges higher committee at the Ministry of Higher Education.

He congratulated King Salman on the release of the government’s annual budget for 2020.

“Approximately one-fifth of the budget is allocated to education, which reflects the leadership’s keenness to invest in the human element through education and training ... to open new horizons and job opportunities for Saudi youth and encourage them to invest in the diverse resources in the Kingdom,” Al-Dhayabi said.