RIYADH: Expatriates residing in the Saudi capital Riyadh are making full use of the opportunity to explore Saudi tourist attractions and are venturing out to beat the searing heat, seeking cooler climates.
As many expatriates head home during the summer months to spend quality time with family and loved ones, this year has been an exceptional one with the restriction of travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic and suspension of international flights, but that has not stopped some from taking advantage of the situation to explore their second home.
Their time spent in the Kingdom has provided many with an opportunity to see Saudi heritage and culture, breathtaking scenic beauty, and sample outdoor activities and delicious local food.
As tourism in Saudi Arabia begins to transform in line with Vision 2030, and the world discovers more of this land of adventure and opportunity, residents of large cities like Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam are looking forward and touring unexplored destinations.
Dr. Abdur Raheem Khan, an Indian expatriate working in Riyadh, told Arab News: “Apart from financial impact, pandemics end with negative aftermaths like anxiety and depression. Other than getting closer to nature, nothing could be better to keep away post COVID-19 stress.
“After the lockdown ended, following all precautionary measures, my family and I went to explore other cities in the Kingdom besides Riyadh,” he said.
“During this summer holiday, we traveled to the northern city of Hail. We visited Nufood, Qariyat-Al-Na’i, the sites of Hail’s rock art, one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Kingdom, Hatem Tai Stove, and the Heritage Museum. It left us surprised that we hadn’t seem these sites before during our decade-long stay in the Kingdom,” Khan added.
“As a resident, in future, I would prefer to explore more indoor locations instead of planning an outdoor trip, as it is going to give me more with less cost and time,” he added.
Waqar Asif, a Pakistani national in Riyadh, visited Abha to take relief from the searing heat in the capital.
He told Arab News: “This year due to the coronavirus pandemic, I was unable to fly back to my home country for Eid Al-Adha, and decided to visit local tourism sites in Saudi Arabia, and was surprised to see such.”
Notably, Saudi Arabia is home to several historical and archaeological sites listed in the UNESCO World Heritage list, which includes Madain Saleh in Madinah, Al-Turaif district, Diriyah in Riyadh, Historic Jeddah, Hail Rock Arts and Al-Ahsa Oasis, as well as the two holy cities of Islam, Makkah and Madinah.