Egypt to launch global tourism campaign

Egypt to launch global tourism campaign
He said the number of tourists in Egypt in the last quarter of 2021 was the same as in the same period in 2019. (File/AFP)
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Updated 21 July 2022

Egypt to launch global tourism campaign

Egypt to launch global tourism campaign

CAIRO: Egypt’s minister of tourism and antiquities has announced the launch of an international tourism campaign on Sept. 27.

The three-year campaign will promote Egyptian tourist destinations worldwide, said Khaled El-Anany, adding that there is a plan to reduce the cost of domestic flights.

He said the number of tourists in Egypt in the last quarter of 2021 was the same as in the same period in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic.

El-Anany added that he expects tourism to increase with the holding of the UN Climate Change Conference in November in Sharm El-Sheikh.


Visitors take a trip to Saudi Arabia’s Taif to rejuvenate in nature

The popular tourist location has a number of hotels and resorts designed and built to fit in with the natural landscape. (SPA)
The popular tourist location has a number of hotels and resorts designed and built to fit in with the natural landscape. (SPA)
Updated 13 August 2022

Visitors take a trip to Saudi Arabia’s Taif to rejuvenate in nature

The popular tourist location has a number of hotels and resorts designed and built to fit in with the natural landscape. (SPA)
  • The region has more than 2,000 flower farms that produce more than 200 million roses every season

TAIF: Visitors from all over the Kingdom and the Gulf are flocking to Taif this summer to get respite from the heat and rejuvenate in the region’s mountains.

The popular tourist location has a number of hotels and resorts designed and built to fit in with the natural landscape, several of which are also working farms or have beautiful gardens planted with the famous Taif roses and wild plants including basil, al-baitran, and marjoram.

Tourists and visitors can also stay in cozy, rural hostels made of old stone ornamented with carvings and sculptures of animals, where they can enjoy stunning views of the mountains and valleys of Taif, which are home to a variety of rare birds.

The city and other nearby areas such as Al-Hada and Al-Shifa are also famous for their fruits.

The region has more than 2,000 flower farms that produce more than 200 million roses every season. Taif roses have historic, economic and religious importance. The oil is used to perfume the walls of the Kaaba, which is also washed twice annually with its scented water.

Besides basking in nature, visitors to Taif can also visit museums, local markets, rose factories in Al-Shafa and Al-Hada, the cable car, a strawberry farm, the zoo, and historic castles.

 


 


Crushed by war, Syrian tourism eyes expat uptick

A visitor uses a mobile phone as she walks at Al Azem Palace in Damascus, Syria July 31, 2022. (REUTERS)
A visitor uses a mobile phone as she walks at Al Azem Palace in Damascus, Syria July 31, 2022. (REUTERS)
Updated 10 August 2022

Crushed by war, Syrian tourism eyes expat uptick

A visitor uses a mobile phone as she walks at Al Azem Palace in Damascus, Syria July 31, 2022. (REUTERS)
  • Foreign visitors to Syria today come mostly from countries that have good relations with President Bashar al-Assad's government
  • Syria's economy is in dire straits, hurt by factors including a precipitous decline in the currency's value since 2019, prompted by neighbouring Lebanon's financial collapse

DAMASCUS: Somar Hazim had high hopes when he opened a hotel in Damascus in 2009, adding to a growing number of boutique guest houses in the Old City that were proving to be a hit with tourists, before war broke out and forced him to close down.
Although security returned to Damascus years ago, big-spending foreign visitors have not, with Syria still fractured by war.
Hazim has no plans to reopen his Beit Rose Hotel, an 18th century house with rooms set around a picturesque courtyard, a decision that reflects the weakness of tourism and the wider economy of a country suffering from 11 years of conflict.

People sit at a rooftop lounge in Damascus, Syria August 3, 2022. (REUTERS)

“The number of foreign tourists in Syria — as they were before 2011 ... are still few,” said Hazim, smoking a water pipe at a cafe he owns in another old Damascene house. But he sees a glimmer of hope: more Syrian expats are visiting.
At its peak in 2010, Syria attracted 10 million tourists, many of them Westerners. That all changed in 2011 with the onset of the war that has killed at least 350,000 people and uprooted half the population, forcing millions abroad as refugees.
Foreign visitors to Syria today come mostly from countries that have good relations with President Bashar Assad’s government. They include Iraqis, Lebanese and Iranians on pilgrimage to sites revered by Shiite Muslims.

A man and a woman play backgammon at Somar Hazim's cafe in Damascus, Syria July 31, 2022. (REUTERS)

Visitor numbers rose to 750,000 in the first half of 2022 from 570,000 in the same period of 2021, Tourism Minister Mohammed Rami Martini told Reuters, attributing the rise to the easing of COVID-19 travel restrictions.
He expects visitor numbers this year to recover to levels last seen in 2018 and 2019.
“We have close to 100,000 Iraqis, and there are Lebanese and others from friendly states. But the biggest number are the expatriates,” he said, describing this as a boost to the economy because they spend amounts similar to foreign tourists.
Syria’s economy is in dire straits, hurt by factors including a precipitous decline in the currency’s value since 2019, prompted by neighboring Lebanon’s financial collapse.

Sami Alkodaimi, a Syrian expatriate who lives in Saudi Arabia, uses his laptop at his home in Damascus, Syria August 6, 2022. (REUTERS)

Subsidies on essential goods have been gradually lifted, with prices of items such as fuel rising to unprecedented levels.
Although the currency’s collapse has boosted the purchasing power of expatriates visiting with wads of foreign currency, the gaps in some basic provisions has been frustrating.
Sami Alkodaimi, a Syrian expatriate who lives in Saudi Arabia, stayed away from the country from 2011 to 2019, during the peak of the country’s conflict.
In Syria this summer, Alkodaimi said he felt less hope during this visit, noting higher prices, fuel shortages, and poor electricity provision in the heat of summer.
“I came in my car from Riyadh. The gasoline issue is very annoying. We are trying to obtain it, but with difficulty,” he said.


Saudi Arabia’s Al-Baha lavender garden becomes new tourism icon in region

Al-Baha is one of Saudi Arabia’s top tourist destinations, and even visitors from the GCC flock to the city. (SPA)
Al-Baha is one of Saudi Arabia’s top tourist destinations, and even visitors from the GCC flock to the city. (SPA)
Updated 30 July 2022

Saudi Arabia’s Al-Baha lavender garden becomes new tourism icon in region

Al-Baha is one of Saudi Arabia’s top tourist destinations, and even visitors from the GCC flock to the city. (SPA)
  • The picturesque garden is located in the middle of Raghadan Forest Park

AL-BAHA: Since the start of the summer season in the Kingdom, the Al-Baha region has witnessed a large number of visitors and vacationers coming from various regions and governorates due to its cool weather and picturesque locations.

Al-Baha is one of Saudi Arabia’s top tourist destinations, and visitors from the GCC flock to the area to enjoy nature in a pleasant environment.

This summer, Al-Baha opened another prominent tourist site, its lavender garden, which is located in the middle of Raghadan Forest Park.

HIGHLIGHT

The 500-meter walkway linking the two areas is covered with natural stone and one can see waterfalls while walking down a path illuminated by 270 decorative light poles, as well as flowerbeds, sitting areas, wooden crossings and kiosks.

Mayor of the region, Dr. Ali Al-Suwat, said that the lavender garden and the central area of the Raghadan Forest were located on an area of more than 20,000 sq. m. The lavender garden occupies an area of 5,000 sq. m.

The 500-meter walkway linking the two areas is covered with natural stone and one can see waterfalls while walking down a path illuminated by 270 decorative lighting poles, as well as flowerbeds, sitting areas, wooden crossings and kiosks.

Al-Suwat said that parks and gardens have been added this year in the Al-Baha region on an area exceeding 400,000 sq. m.

Al-Suwat said that the region’s municipality aims to raise the per capita share of green land areas as the Al-Baha region is among eight tourist destinations covered by the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, and receives large numbers of visitors and vacationers annually.


UAE’s Sheikh Mohamed tours Paris landmarks as ambassador shows off look by Emirati designer

UAE’s Sheikh Mohamed tours Paris landmarks as ambassador shows off look by Emirati designer
Updated 19 July 2022

UAE’s Sheikh Mohamed tours Paris landmarks as ambassador shows off look by Emirati designer

UAE’s Sheikh Mohamed tours Paris landmarks as ambassador shows off look by Emirati designer

DUBAI: UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan visited the Arc de Triomphe and the residence of France’s Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne on the final day of his Paris trip, while Ambassador Hend Al-Otaiba showed off Emirati creativity by wearing an ensemble by designer Ahmed AlKhyeli during the visit.

The UAE president was in the country to witness the signing of two major energy agreements, alongside French leader Emmanuel Macron.

The Arc de Triomphe is one of the most famous monuments in Paris, standing at the western end of the Champs-Élysées at the centre of Place Charles de Gaulle. The monument honors those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.

Sheikh Mohamed (L) is greeted by the French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, on the steps of the l’Hotel de Matignon, the official residence of the Prime Minister, in Paris on July 19. (AFP)

Sheikh Mohamed laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, within the Arc de Triomphe. “A salute to all those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defence of their countries,” he wrote in the visitors' book.

Sheikh Mohamed then travelled to Hotel Matignon, Ms Borne's official residence, where a military band played and cavalry saluted before he attended a meeting between French and Emirati delegations.

 

Additionally, Hend Al-Otaiba, the first ever woman ambassador to France for the United Arab Emirates, made waves in Paris as she wore a bespoke creatiob by Emirati designer Ahmed AlKhyeli for the state dinner at Versailles Palace. AlKhyeli’s couture house is based in London.

Officials from the two countries also signed a broader strategic agreement to cooperate in the energy sector. The partnership aimed to identify joint investment projects in France, the UAE or elsewhere in the sectors of hydrogen, renewable and nuclear energy, the French government said.


Saudi backpacker twins embark on new adventures

The 29-year-old twins’ love for traveling was sparked during family trips abroad. (Supplied)
The 29-year-old twins’ love for traveling was sparked during family trips abroad. (Supplied)
Updated 17 July 2022

Saudi backpacker twins embark on new adventures

The 29-year-old twins’ love for traveling was sparked during family trips abroad. (Supplied)
  • The 29-year-old twins believe traveling should be simple and economical as often the duo spends only $1,331 including flight tickets for a two- to three-week trip

JEDDAH: Saudi backpacker twins Mohammad and Ahmad Al-Rebh from Al-Qatif have visited more than 50 countries in just six years.  

The 29-year-old twins’ love for traveling was sparked during family trips abroad when they were younger, and they became passionate travelers after finishing college.

The brothers, both engineers, work at Saudi Aramco and use their income to fund their trips.

The twins never stay at hotels, only at hostels. Mohammed believes traveling should be simple and economical as often the duo spend only SR5,000 ($1,331) including flight tickets for a two to three week trip.

HIGHLIGHT

For the twins, traveling is all about growing and learning more about yourself, getting to know the locals and their language, places, meeting other passionate travelers and sharing similar experiences with them.

“You see us fitting everything we need in a big backpack rather than the usual luggage that you need to pull. We make you also see the place as it is and not from a five star hotel,” Ahmad told Arab News.

“Traveling shouldn’t be all organized and planned and in comfy hotels. Actually this makes traveling harder for a lot of people because they would see how costly their trip can be and hefty the logistics are,” Mohammed told Arab News.

He added: “A lot of it will be going with how we feel; sometimes I would love to stay in a place more than I anticipated so I end up extending a night (or nights) and other times it’s the opposite. Sometimes I would find out from other travelers I meet that there’s a really amazing place to visit nearby so I would usually get a bus ticket and spend a night or two somewhere I didn’t even know existed.”

Get out there and start exploring the world as it will develop you as a person; and as you grow from it, you’ll see the positive changes in your day-to- day life, your career, your business and your relationships

Mohammad Al-Rebh

For the twins, traveling is all about growing and learning more about yourself, getting to know the locals and their language, places, meeting other passionate travelers and sharing similar experiences with them.

“So what if plans get ruined or you miss a flight as long as you appreciate the experience and grow as a person,” he said.

“Having a plan is good and safe but we shouldn’t stress over meeting our plans. Enjoy the journey, meet people, discover places, and find love within ourselves and others,” he explains.

The twins enjoy hiking in nature and one of their most memorable experience was a trip to Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, in August 2019. It was the twins’ first physically and mentally challenging trip.

“This was so special because I got to summit the highest mountain in Africa and one of the seven (highest) summits of the world. The whole experience was so special as you are always above the clouds and you see different sceneries everyday,” Ahmad reminisced.

“The sunrise at the summit itself was the most beautiful sunrise I’ve seen in my life. From the challenge to go all the way up was a great feeling to celebrating the summit by dancing and singing with Tanzanians and friends during the whole journey was so special,” he added.

Climbing 5,895 meters above the ground was a “blissful” experience, said Mohammed.

“Get out there and start exploring the world as it will develop you as a person; and as you grow from it, you’ll see the positive changes in your day-to-day life, your career, your business and your relationships,” he advises.