RIYADH: King Salman’s royal inauguration of the Diriyah Gate project — a crowning moment in Kingdom’s plans to showcase the cultural icon to the world — was watched by members of the royal family, officials and a host of international visitors.
But for one guest the spectacular opening was very much a family affair.
Helena Zakade Inzerillo, the 13-year-old daughter of Diriyah Gate Development Authority CEO Jerry Inzerillo, flew into Riyadh from New York to watch the launch of a project, and visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site and birthplace of the Saudi nation.
“Everyone has to come and see this place,” she told Arab News.
“Diriyah is an incredible place. It has so much culture and history that the world needs to know about. It’s the jewel of the Kingdom.”
Inzerillo’s middle name Zakade was given to her by her godfather Nelson Mandela. In Mandela’s Khosa language, it means “the one who took a long time to arrive.”
She is proud of her father’s work to transform the city “with his heart and soul.”
On only her fifth visit to the Kingdom, Inzerillo said she that was “taken aback by the sheer beauty of the place.”
Jerry Inzerillo has spent decades working in the leisure, tourism and hospitality sectors. He was CEO of the Forbes Travel Guide from 2014 to 2018, president and CEO of IMG Artists from 2012 to 2014, and president of resort giant Kerzner International from 1991 to 2011.
He has worked on the Diriyah Gate project for the past two years and told Arab News the site “has always held a special place in my heart.”
“There is only one Diriyah,” he said with a heartfelt smile.