RIYADH: As Riyadh season continues to draw more foreign tourists to the Kingdom, Saudis challenged misconceptions and were very welcoming to visitors.
Two American women, Sara Morosan and Theresa Contreras, were among several journalists and exhibitors who arrived in Riyadh for the first time to get a glimpse of Saudi Arabia while attending the motor show held in Janadriyah.
Contreras, who works for LGE-CTS Motorsports, said: “It has been amazing coming to this country and seeing everything in person. Everyone has been open and welcoming.”
Morosan said:“I was not sure what to expect, and admittedly I expected at least negative reactions from the locals, but once we got here, we actually received none of that whatsoever. In fact, it was quite the opposite; I found that most people I conversed with were extremely friendly, open and super awesome,” she added.
Kathryn Reinhardt, vice president of marketing for Rolling Big Power (RBP) whose company is taking part in the motor show, said: “The group who put up the show did an amazing job, creating booths out of literally desert.”
Coming for the first time to Saudi Arabia, Reinhardt said that despite her initial concern as a female visiting the Kingdom, locals were easy to talk to and communicative.
Canadian journalist Matthew Guy, who attended Riyadh’s classic car show Cars & Coffee, said that he was amazed to see Saudis collecting classic cars: “It was an interesting show and I really enjoyed meeting Saudis who own such classic cars.”
The show featured more than 300 classic cars and motorbikes.
Richard Péwé, editor-in-chief of JP Magazine, said the show was “incredible.”
“I didn’t know that there is a deeper car culture here in Riyadh, it is amazing so many people turned out to see the show,” he said.