‘Saudi Summer’ to Revamp Domestic Tourism
With progressive relaxations being introduced in lockdown, the Saudi Ministry of Tourism recently launched an initiative to boost domestic tourism. Named ‘Saudi Summer’, it aims to restart and promote tourism in a big way. The slogan adopted for the initiative is “Tanaffas” which is the Arabic word for “Breathe”.
Saudi’s Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb unveiled the campaign during a virtual press conference, which included discussions on the plans and the safety measures to be put in place considering the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that his Ministry is working on different fronts, including political, social, and economic reforms, in an effort to improve tourism options available within the Kingdom. The tourism industry has been badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the primary goals of the Ministry is to empower local businesses operating in the tourism industry.
Saudi Arabia has a rich historical, cultural, and natural heritage. The Ministry wants people to discover their Kingdom and enjoy its beautiful treasures. The initiative was announced after the Ministry conducted an extensive survey to ascertain people’s opinion regarding their plans for summer vacations.
Replying to a question whether or not they wanted to leave the Kingdom for the summer, 81 percent respondents said that they do not want to go abroad, despite the fact that about 63 percent of them wanted to go out. As per the survey results, 57 percent of Saudi residents were concerned about traveling on holiday by plane, but 85 percent were still planning to take a break of around 10 days this year. Apart from other statistics, the survey showed that 78 percent of the respondents were willing to explore their own country. The survey also found that people are looking for coastlines and mountain ranges the most because being in a lockdown state for so long has caused a stifling feeling among them.
Initially, Saudi Summer is promoting 10 domestic destinations: Jeddah and the King Abdullah Economic City, Abha, Tabuk, Alkhobar, Dammam and Ahsa, Baha, Taif, Yanbu and Umluj, and Riyadh. It is hoped that the diversity of these tourist spots, including the quiet beaches, scenic valleys, dense forests, mountains, vibrant cities, and historic villages will encourage travelers to explore multiple destinations, taking advantage of the different packages available. A slew of measures have been adopted to ensure that these tourist attractions offer world-class facilities and experiences to the visitors.
The safety protocols have been put in place as per the guidelines issued by the Health Ministry. Any company wanting to operate in the tourism sector will have to ensure strict adherence to these guidelines in order to get license and do business.
It is expected that the tourism industry, which has resumed operations with a renewed spirit post lockdown, will help achieve the desired goals under the Saudi Vision 2030 which seeks to pursue economic diversification, attract investments, increase revenues and create job opportunities for citizens.
As the world prepares to resume life amid the new normal of the COVID-19 crisis, a well thought of campaign like ‘Saudi Summer’ will definitely go a long way in boosting the economy of the Kingdom and the quality of life of its people.