JEDDAH: With the start of another school year just a month away, Saudi Arabia residents are flocking to their nearest tourist destinations as the King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) offers some fun in the sun and more.
The city is about an hour’s drive north of Jeddah and since it was established nearly 16 years ago, it has served as a mini-getaway for residents of nearby Yanbu, Rabigh and Jeddah.
It has been a popular spot this summer as guests are visiting the city’s two hotels and other rentals after the Saudi Tourism Authority launched the Saudi Summer Program 2021 under the slogan “Our Summer, Your Mood.”
Since being announced and inaugurated in 2005 by the late King Abdullah, KAEC has featured projects and initiatives such as the Science and Research Complex, KAEC Media City, and Ethraa, The Smart City.
Jeddah resident Rahaf Meer, 27, a physical therapist, has frequented KAEC with her friends throughout the summer and has enjoyed some of the area’s facilities and fun-filled activities.
“Five of my friends and I rented bikes and rode across the area moving from one area to the next with ease as it was a break from driving,” she told Arab News. “It is comfortable and it gives us room to break away from our daily habits.”
Meer said she likes going to YAM Beach and has been amazed by the crisp, clear water off the shore.
“It is barely an hour’s drive from Jeddah, but you can see the difference in clarity,” she said. “Heading to KAEC is a safe idea as we do not plan on traveling abroad anytime soon. It is our summer go-to destination.”
Sharing Meer’s sentiment, Saleh Almuraished, another Jeddah resident, visited KAEC for the first time a few weeks ago and told Arab News that she is already planning to return.
“I loved the wide and open spaces of the city and everything seemed brand new (even though it has been around for 16 years),” Almuraished said. “The atmosphere and vibe was very nice. What was even better was the hospitality, from the hotel staff to beach lifeguards and more.”
Adhering to precautionary coronavirus (COVID-19) measures, Almuraished and her friends opted to go to Pure Beach in the Lagoon Zone because YAM Beach reached its quota.
“The crowds can be better handled especially since we have a few weeks to go,” Almuraished said. “Other than that, the weather was amazing. Even though it is still the middle of a hot summer, everything was extremely enjoyable.”
Located in the heart of KAEC is the world-class 18-hole championship golf course, Royal Greens Golf and Country Club, where amateurs and professionals alike can hit the links.
For those who are interested in watersport activities, the Bay La Sun Marina Yacht Club provides different activities such as diving and snorkeling. They also offer sport or line fishing for six hours a day as boats can hold up to 10 people.
KAEC is family-friendly as options for children are also available.