Balloon ‘glow show’ puts AlUla’s name up in lights — and sets new world record

The Winter at Tantora festival reaches new heights after it entered the Guinness World Record for longest hot air balloon glow show at AlUla’s spectacular desert landscape. (Photo/Supplied)
Short Url
Updated 04 February 2020

Balloon ‘glow show’ puts AlUla’s name up in lights — and sets new world record

  • 100 balloons soared aloft across a 3 km stretch of AlUla’s spectacular desert landscape

ALULA: Balloonists from 19 countries staged a record-breaking hot air balloon “glow show” above the AlUla desert in an extraordinary night-time display.

The Guinness World Record for longest hot air balloon glow show was confirmed by an official adjudicator after 100 balloons soared aloft across a 3 km stretch of AlUla’s spectacular desert landscape.

The record-breaking flight, a highlight of the Winter at Tantora festival, was described as “a magical occasion” by Amr Al-Madani, CEO of the Royal Commission for AlUla and president of the Saudi Arabian Balloon Federation.

Glow shows — in which balloonists create choreographed dancing lights set to music by using their burners to illuminate their hot air balloons — are a regular attraction at AlUla’s Winter at Tantora arts, music and culture festival, but this was the most ambitious ever staged.

“This was a tremendously complex task in planning and coordination,” Al-Madani said. “It was a night to remember and demonstrates once again the extraordinary opportunities that AlUla has to offer as a destination.”

It was a night to remember and demonstrates once again the extraordinary opportunities that AlUla has to offer as a destination.

Amr Al-Madani, CEO of the Royal Commission for AlUla and president of the Saudi Arabian Balloon Federation.

The international balloonists were participating in Winter at Tantora’s Balloon Festival, and offered festival visitors a chance to glide over AlUla’s spectacular landscape and some of its 7,000 years of archaeological remains, including the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hegra, a 2,000-year-old Nabataean site with well-preserved tombs carved into sandstone cliffs.

Safety was paramount for the record-breaking attempt, with organizers and support teams monitoring wind conditions and the distance between balloons. The winter festival’s regular hot air balloon glow shows usually feature only 25 balloons.

Winter at Tantora runs until March 7, and features top-class entertainment, cultural, arts and sporting events, including concerts at the mirrored Maraya concert hall and the Fursan horse endurance race on Feb. 1. For details and booking information visit www.book.experiencealula.com.

The rebirth of AlUla
Hegra, ancient city of the Nabataeans in Saudi Arabia’s historic AlUla Valley, is emerging from the mists of time to take its rightful place as one of the wonders of the world

Enter


keywords

 


US ambassador to Saudi Arabia advises American community to shelter in the Kingdom during coronavirus

Updated 32 min 44 sec ago

US ambassador to Saudi Arabia advises American community to shelter in the Kingdom during coronavirus

  • John Abizaid published video message addressed to the American community
  • He says food supplies, health care and emergency services are all good in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: The US ambassador to Riyadh advised the American community in Saudi Arabia to “shelter in place,” instead of returning to the US amid the present crisis.

“Food supply is good, emergency services are sound, medical system is functioning,” said the US envoy John Abizaid on a video message addressed towards the American community.

He advised those who are adamant on returning to research and study the local situation as communities have been disrupted and many quarantine areas have sprung up.

 

 

“It’s very concerning to see how things are going there (in the US), but on the other hand I’ve got great confidence in our ability to weather the storm, not only there but here.”

He hailed the efforts made by the Kingdom to protect against the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and said: “They took action early, they stopped the movement of people into the Kingdom, they shut down the air corridors, land corridors, you name it. Of course it makes us all feel isolated, but on the other hand it is also clear to me that it makes us safer.”

Abizaid described the Kingdom’s preventive measures as “ahead of the problem,” but that did not mean the situation could not spiral for the worst.

“There are about over 1,500 cases in the Kingdom right now and it is continuing to rise, but not at a rate like we’ve seen in the States or Italy or Spain or elsewhere.”

The ambassador and everyone at the embassy are social-distancing and working electronically. He said that none of the embassy staff had COVID-19.

He has reassured Americans that the embassy has a Center For Disease Control representative who has been talking to Saudis and the health ministry, saying that the Kingdom is doing a good job.

“My relationship with the Saudi security services has been exceptional,” he said, adding: “Good cooperation, we all have the same goal in mind, which is to keep the virus from spreading, to ensure that our medical professionals in the Kingdom can practice without being overcrowded or overworked.”