Saudi Arabia's AlUla to be developed into world’s largest living museum

Saudi Arabia has unveiled plans to develop AlUla into the world’s largest living museum and a major heritage, cultural, arts and adventure tourism destination. (File/AFP)
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Updated 17 February 2020

Saudi Arabia's AlUla to be developed into world’s largest living museum

  • Kingdom wants 2m visitors to county by 2035
  • The development plans were announced during the 10th UN World Urban Forum in Abu Dhab

ABU DHABI: Saudi Arabia has unveiled plans to develop AlUla into the world’s largest living museum and a major heritage, cultural, arts and adventure tourism destination.
AlUla is known for its natural beauty and archaeological diversity. It has hosted major cultural events, including a site-responsive outdoor art installation featuring the work of Saudi and international artists.
The development plans were announced during the 10th UN World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi.
“The balanced development strategy places people first as part of a broader commitment to become an open living museum for the world and a global center for culture, heritage, arts and eco-tourism projects,” the CEO of the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU), Amr Al-Madani, said. “We chose the World Urban Forum as a credible global platform to engage with the world’s leading developers and sustainability experts and share our plans for the long-term, responsible development of AlUla as the world’s largest living museum. By combining heritage with nature, we are transforming the cultural landscape of AlUla and establishing the county as a global tourism destination with a thriving economy and local community.”
Saudi Arabia aims to host two million visitors a year in AlUla by 2035. The RCU, the authority responsible for protecting and promoting the area, estimates the project will create more than 67,000 new jobs, almost half of them in the tourism sector.
“We invite experts from around the world to join us on our journey which means we learn and innovate together. We see a clear road ahead as we attract investment and continue to protect, preserve, share and celebrate our heritage and nature with the world. Not only have we opened our doors to travelers benefiting from Saudi Arabia’s new tourist visas, we’ve also delivered the infrastructure that is central to growth,” Al-Madani added.
He said that a new airport had been launched and that it had the potential to become a transport and logistics hub for northwest Saudi Arabia. There was also a distinctive concert hall with a 500-seat capacity, he added.
The RCU’s Francesca Arici, who is responsible for coordinating development of the masterplans, briefed organizations and agencies at the forum about the commission’s future strategy.
“This is a unique and once-in-a-lifetime development program that requires drawing together international best practice in numerous and diverse fields and sectors,” she said. “We must balance light-touch tourism with sensitive development designed to benefit the local community while still protecting rare ecosystems and archaeology. We are moving at pace but ensuring we embrace the needs and demands of the local community as we work together for a common goal.  A number of major infrastructure plans have already been realized and it is anticipated that we will introduce new building permits and design guidelines to AlUla in March, boosting local economic growth and prosperity.”
Around 80 percent of AlUla county will be protected, including cultural and natural heritage sites.


Safeguarding the Two Holy Mosques is vital task for Saudi security forces, spokesman says

Updated 7 min 3 sec ago

Safeguarding the Two Holy Mosques is vital task for Saudi security forces, spokesman says

  • Attia also reviewed the security issues and challenges the Kingdom has faced over the years

MAKKAH: Maj. Gen. Bassam Attia, a spokesman for the Saudi security forces, on Tuesday highlighted the importance of national security and the efforts that are made to develop procedures and strategies to protect the Kingdom from hostile forces.

In particular, he stressed the importance that is placed on ensuring the security of the Two Holy Mosques, in recognition of their unique place in the history and heritage of the country, and their civilizational and historical value.

His comments came during a lecture titled “Threats to National Security,” which was organized by Umm Al-Qura University in collaboration with the Presidency of State Security. The university’s president, Dr. Abdullah bin Omar Bafail, also attended.

During his talk, Attia reviewed the security issues and challenges the Kingdom has faced over the years. He discussed the frameworks that have been put in place to protect the nation and its leaders from terrorism, extremism and espionage, and thwart any hostile acts or plans.

He also discussed key national-security concepts adopted by all countries, including economic, military, social, psychological, geopolitical, environmental, educational and political dimensions. He noted that efforts to ensure and preserve Saudi Arabia’s national security begin from within and extend throughout the region and internationally, and that what happens in the Kingdom affects other countries. Attia added that protecting the security of the Kingdom is a broad remit that constantly faces new challenges.