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General Entertainment Authority to announce 2018 Entertainment calendar with more than 5,000 planned events

Time: February 20, 2018

Saudis of all ages can look forward to an unprecedented year of culture and entertainment in the Kingdom as the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) prepares to announce its 2018 entertainment calendar of more than 5,000 events on the 22nd February 2018. The calendar offers a diverse line-up of live entertainment ever seen in Saudi Arabia, has been designed to appeal to all of Saudi society and incudes events for families, youth and kids. 

The General Entertainment Authority, one of the entities supporting the Quality of Life Vision Realization Program, aims at setting goals and drawing strategies that contribute to the development of the entertainment industry in the Kingdom by diversifying investment opportunities and creating a diverse and sustainable sector, in addition to helping achieve the Vision 2030 goals through the significant contribution of the entertainment sector to the economy and its positive impact on economic diversification and the gross domestic product (GDP) annually.

In planning its 2018 entertainment calendar, the General Entertainment Authority has taken into consideration various standards to ensure the diversity and high quality of the activities so to suit the interests of all segments and categories of the society.

Saudi Arabia to promote 250 ancient caves for tourism

SOURCE:  Al Arabiya English

Time: February 10, 2018

Human beings had a fascination for caves from the time of the early man, and caving has always attracted tourists of all kinds from hardcore adventurists to fearless curiosity seekers to date.

More than 5,000 caves around the world attract nearly 250 million tourists each year. These caves contribute $2 billion to the global tourism revenue annually.

Caves were one of the best natural habitats where people sheltered themselves against extreme weather conditions in the harsh climate of the desert. Nomadic Arabs considered caves as a secure shelter as it protected them from severe heat and cold as well as sandstorms. Caves were also a good source of water.

Caving, or spelunking as it is properly called, has so far remained on the fringes of the tourism industry in Saudi Arabia even though hundreds of thousands of Muslims who come to the country on pilgrimage from all over the world every year make it a point to visit the historic Cave Hira on the Mountain of Light in Makkah where the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) received the first revelation in 610 AD.

Geological survey

The Saudi Geological Survey (SGS) has been studying about caves in the Kingdom since 1999 when it contracted a foreign expert who formed a team of Saudi geologists to conduct a detailed survey of caves across the country.

The SGS, along the Saudi Society of Geosciences, organized a four-day international conference last week with the participation of geoscientists and experts from many Arab and foreign countries.

The conference was held in Jeddah from Feb. 4 to 7, inviting media attention to the tourism potential of the large number of historic caves in various parts of the Kingdom.

There are thousands of caves of varying sizes in the Kingdom that can attract not only tourists but also geologists from around the world, speakers at the 12th International Geosciences Conference said.

The conference lauded the efforts of the Geological Survey as well as the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) in mapping the caves that can attract tourists.

The SCTH, which has plans to promote geotourism in the country, began studies on caves in the year 2000. King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) in Dhahran also invited an Austrian team to conduct studies on 50 caves.

The tourism commission has revealed plans to promote 250 caves in the Kingdom as part of its ongoing campaign to boost domestic tourism. Shaafan Cave with a length of 2 kilometers is the largest in the Kingdom. It has a height of 8 meters and is 800 meters deep. Remnants of animal skulls and bones have been found at the place.

Natural scenes

Tahlab and Dahl Al-Murabbae are both known for their impressive natural scenes and coolness.

Ghar Hira, or Hira Cave, on Jabal Al-Noor (The Mountain of Light), with a length of three meters and width of 1.75 meters, and Ghar Thour, located 4 km away from the Grand Mosque, are the most famous caves in the Kingdom because of their significance in the history of Islam.

While  Hira Cave was where the first verses of the Holy Qur’an were revealed to the Prophet, it was in the Cave of Thour that he and his companion Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) took shelter during their flight to Madinah to escape the torture of the pagans of Makkah.

“Many of the Kingdom’s caves are familiar to the locals who use them for shelter and as sources of water,” said Dr. Mahmoud al-Shanty, a geologist. He said field studies in a region spanning 89,000 sq. kilometers of volcanic lava had uncovered many lava tube caves.

Bones, antiquities and even life forms were found in some of these caves. It was also found that the structure of caves held important information for climate scientists about weather patterns in the Arabian Peninsula.

The scientific studies on Saudi caves have shown that when the caves are prepared and opened for tourists, they will have a great impact on the economy, al-Shanty said.



The 15 Best Places for Healthy Food in Jeddah

Time: December 27, 2018

Boga is one of The 15 Best Places for Healthy Food in Jeddah.

1. Boga


Prince Sultan St (Al Naeem St), Jeddah, Makkah

Health Food Store · An Naim · 117 tips and reviews

AlMaha R.AlMaha R.: Caesar salad is amazing .. Shrimp Sandwishes is good and the pesto chicken sandwich is good as well ?? great healthy food

Arwa S.Arwa Shafi: Loved all sandwiches & salads we ordered. Baked Fish, Ribeye Steak, Chicken Pesto, Vegetarian, Apple Quinoa, Melon Burst.

ReemReem: Delicious healthy food.. steak sandwiches and salads ??

BOGA Superfoods is one of The 15 Best Places for Healthy Food in Jeddah.

2. BOGA Superfoods

Tahlia St, Jeddah, Makkah
Sandwich Place · Al-Andulus · 76 tips and reviews

Rawan J.Rawan J: If you’re starting to have a healthy lifestyle … this place is all what you’re looking for .. fresh salads, lite sandwiches and very good breakfast?

Basim K.Basim Khoja: For once I am glad that I am addicted to a Resturant. Healthy fresh salads that are filling and reasonably priced. My favorites are the very berry salad and the sunbrrero.

Bilal C.Bilal Chaar: Boga is a new trend of a healthy and organic food in town ??you can find a variety of healthy food with a cool menu ?including a food tasting indicator! Very smart move #boga

FireGrill is one of The 15 Best Places for Healthy Food in Jeddah.

3. FireGrill

(فاير جريل)

Malik Road, Jeddah, Makkah

Mexican Restaurant · Az Zahrah · 172 tips and reviews

Sara S.Sara Samargandi: My favorite ever in jeddah.. Full of healthy ingredients.. When you’re in doubt, have a burrittoooo ?

Sulayman Mazhar Khan .Sulayman Mazhar Khan ? @sulaymanmazhar7: Fajita bowl is awesome and organic ice tea just clears your mind . Good quality good.

Rana K.Rana Kb: A great choice for a healthy meal

Moon Shell is one of The 15 Best Places for Healthy Food in Jeddah.

4. Moon Shell

حي الروضه (شارع الامام مالك), جدّة, منطقة مكة
Vegetarian / Vegan Restaurant · Al-Rawdah · 20 tips and reviews

LionLion: All vegan and healthy smoothie Vegan healthy place. One of a kind in Jeddah. Little cosy cafe only 2 tables. We tried molten midnight and palm spring was yummm and makes u feel full. Simple, healthy and fresh ingredients

Essam K.Essam Kamil: Best vegan smoothie in summer

Boga superfoods is one of The 15 Best Places for Healthy Food in Jeddah.

5. Boga superfoods

Salad Place · Obhur Al-Janoubeyyah · 44 tips and reviews

Bashayer a.Bashayer aj: Best salad???and healthy sandwich ?

Faris A.Faris AlHomrany: The most delicious healthy food restaurant in Jeddah… salads are top and Fish sandwich is superb

Omar S.Omar Sanousi: If you are looking for healthy food ? Boga is the best ?? all kind of sandwiches and salads are excellent

Café Bateel is one of The 15 Best Places for Healthy Food in Jeddah.

6. Café Bateel

(مقهى بتيل)

King Abdulaziz Rd (Abdullah abduljabbar St), Jeddah, Makkah

Café · Ash Shatee · 148 tips and reviews

BashayerBashayer: Food was nice, loved the quinoa tabuola and the icetea !??

Dr.Reham G.Dr.Reham Gary: The kale salad ? is super yummy the best salad I’ve even had in my life !! I give it 10/10 everything I ordered in bateel deserve 10/10

Dr.Reham G.Dr.Reham Gary: Super healthy and so yumm , very delicious dish everything in it is perfect the salmon and the quinoa ???? 8/10

Subway is one of The 15 Best Places for Healthy Food in Jeddah.

7. Subway

(صب واي)

Rwes Area (Ha’ael Street), Jeddah, Makkah

Sandwich Place · Al-Ruwase · 43 tips and reviews

Ahmed M.Ahmed Mousa: Ask for low calories sabdwiches

無料 魂.無料 魂: Best healthy food in ksa

Hesham E.Hesham ELMAHDY: The closest choice to a vegan

Subway is one of The 15 Best Places for Healthy Food in Jeddah.

8. Subway

(صب واي)

Al Rawdah St. (Al Khaldia Dist.), Jeddah, Makkah

Sandwich Place · Al-Khaledeyyah · 39 tips and reviews

Don D.Don Deedo: Best place for healthy food !

Rania S.Rania S.: Healthy choice

Sam T.Sam Tenefrancia: Vegetarians will enjoy their veggie patty sub! ?

Shobak is one of The 15 Best Places for Healthy Food in Jeddah.

9. Shobak


Al Khalidiyah Dist. (Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz St), Jeddah, Makkah

Breakfast Spot · Al-Khaledeyyah · 507 tips and reviews

TheArabModeTheArabMode: Best place for a lite meal! Healthy options and delicious choices. Highly recommend philly cheesesteak and NOT a cheeseburger?

Issam S.Issam Siddique: Lovely pies. Very soft and yum. Try the veggie pizza , you won’t be disappointed. Only negative is the space.

Sana M.Sana Mulla: Must try the spinach wrap gor vegetarian and the chicken and cheese for chicken lovers.

Nino is one of The 15 Best Places for Healthy Food in Jeddah.

10. Nino


Falstin St | شارع فلسطين (حي الحمراء | Al Hamra Dist), Jeddah, Makkah

Italian Restaurant · Al Aziziyah · 185 tips and reviews

Lujain ..Lujain .: I suggest you try this quinoa with beet salad, the yummiest?! The burgers and salads are brilliant. Don’t forget to stay away from the risotto, it contains much fat.

Budoor B.Budoor Bahareth: Shrimp di bufala and the quinoa salad

Sara B.Sara Bash: The menu have a lot of variations for different types of food and there are healthy options as well .. The food is great well cooked , creme brûlée pudding is the yummiest ??

Zaikaki Indian Cuisine Rest. is one of The 15 Best Places for Healthy Food in Jeddah.

11. Zaikaki Indian Cuisine Rest.

Saud Al Faisal St. (Rawda), Jeddah, Makkah
Indian Restaurant · Al-Rawdah · 245 tips and reviews

FTRBFTRB: Best Indian good in Jeddah ! If you haven’t tried it until now , don’t mind the strange decoration and the annoying strong AC , just go in and order !! Food is excellent ! Get sabzi vegetarian.

Sam K.Sam K: I like the place .. Nice and calm ,, delicious food ,, I liked the veggie samosa and the plain biryani the most

Hana B.Hana Bak: Yummy veg samosa butter chicken is so rich in flavor. The place is quite, cozy and classy definitely coming again ❤️

Boga Superfoods is one of The 15 Best Places for Healthy Food in Jeddah.

12. Boga Superfoods

Falsteen St., Jeddah, Makkah
Vegetarian / Vegan Restaurant · Al Aziziyah · 19 tips and reviews

Abdul A.Abdul A: This is AWESOME place !! Really the best healthy food in Jeddah, so far. I’ve got the Melon Burst and the Chicken Pesto, which was perfect. Will go there more to taste other dishes.

Emad T.Emad Turkistani: Great idea for a healthy meal.

Hani G.Hani Gazzaz: Clean Rest. and healthy food ?

Medd Café & Roastery is one of The 15 Best Places for Healthy Food in Jeddah.

13. Medd Café & Roastery

(مقهى و محمصة مد)

Northern Corniche Rd (مقابل مسجد الرحمة), Jeddah, Makkah

Café · Ash Shatee · 440 tips and reviews

Faiza A.Faiza Ambah: Outstanding organic coffeehouse run by five talented Saudi boys and girls. Loving the Saudi baristas too! Best sweets in town especially the lavender croissant & naturally sweetened almond cake.

Sarah A.Sarah Al Hakeem: Absoulotly worth the visit specially in the morning, amazing interior lights and modern with a twist lots of local element perfect coffee! Attention to the details fresh organic healthy food 10/10? Fav. Coffee place in Jeddah . Tried their charcoal latte ? loved it . Many healthy choices

Boga is one of The 15 Best Places for Healthy Food in Jeddah.

14. Boga

Jeddah, Makkah
Vegetarian / Vegan Restaurant · Az Zahrah · 32 tips and reviews

Nadia A.Nadia Anwar: Chicken Pesto sandwich is perfect. melon salad, apple quinoa salad. Steak sandwich is also a nice choice.

Khalid A.Khalid Aldabbagh: Very ideal for healthy food like oats/ fruits in the morning or salads for lunch or sandwiches would be healthy too like fish staff are friendly dining is superb as well service and pricing

Talal A.Talal Alhindi: Go vegan, or go home.

Maison De Zaid is one of The 15 Best Places for Healthy Food in Jeddah.

15. Maison De Zaid

(دار زيد)

Abdulmaqsud Khoja St (Al Kayyal St), Jeddah, Makkah

Breakfast Spot · Al-Rawdah · 310 tips and reviews

Ghaya F.Ghaya F.: Quinoa salad 10/10 , Chicken breast with cheese and truffles 4/10 , Noodles Alfredo 8/10 , mini pancakes 9/10

Noura S.Noura S.: I liked their quinoa salad as well as Penne Aurora with pink sauce.

SAJASAJA: Best quinoa salad.

This article was first published in Foursquare

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Wadi al-Bardani, Saudi Arabia’s most beautiful valley

SOURCE:  Al Arabiya English

Time: January 18, 2018

Wadi al-Bardani is one of Saudi Arabia’s most beautiful valleys given its green landscape and flowing water.

The valley, which is located in south Bareq and north of Muhayil Asir, is distinguished for its river which flows all year round from the town of Al-Mashbah and other areas in Asir and flows into Wadi Baqrah.

The two towns Bin Otyafa and al-Asrat are located around the valley.

In addition to the river, the valley is also famous for green land and mountainous formations. (Supplied)

In addition to the river, the valley is also famous for green land and mountainous formations. It is surrounded by agricultural lands, and shepherds often take their herd there to rest as there is plenty of green land and water.

The word Bardani actually means a land that has shade in Arabic.

Shepherds often take their herd there to graze and rest as there is plenty of green land and water. (Supplied)

Traveler Mohammed al-Shawi told Al that the valley is very unique and attracts people who like the scenery.

He noted that it is one of the most beautiful valleys in the kingdom, adding that there are plenty of insects there because of water and grass. Scutch grass is one of the most dominant types of grass found there.

Photographer Abdullah bin Shalwan has taken plenty of photos of the valley and published them on his social media accounts.

Amer al-Zein is another prominent photographer, among many others,  who have also taken photos of the valley and its surroundings.

Last Update: Thursday, 18 January 2018 KSA 20:32 – GMT 17:32


Time: January 02, 2018

The city of Jeddah and its nighttime skyline, without a doubt, is a beautiful sight. And contrary to general misconceptions, there is quite a lot to do here in terms of leisure. So grab your friends, family or just yourself and try out one of these super fun activities.

Because whether you’re new to the city or have lived here all your life, there’s no harm in trying new things. You never know what new hobby you’ll pick up from these ideas.

Without further ado, here’s our take on the top 20 things to do in Jeddah:

1. Try out the thrilling rides at Al-Shallal Theme Park

With an ice-skating rink, the favourable Amazon ride and arcades and more. This theme park is sure to entertain you especially during winter nights with family and friends.

There’s even a ladies’ night on Wednesdays for the chicas to bask in the glorious park’s entertainment.

For more information, contact:  +966 12 606 3993

2. Visit the Aquarium (nope, not the one at home!)

Right next to Al Nawras, and in the Red Sea- Fakieh Aquarium is a must-visit for families with children. From dolphin and sealion shows, a fabulous lunch prepared and of course some of the most fascinating fish you’ll find.

For more information, contact: 966228802081 or visit

3. Shop till you drop at the Red Sea mall

Whether it’s for groceries at Al Danub, grabbing that Moschino bag you’ve been wanting, having dinner with friends or entertaining your children- this mall is a definite one-stop-shop.

4. Try to outwit and escape this room at Novus

Picture this: you’re locked in a dark room with up to 4-7 other friends and it’s a teamwork of the brains to answer questions based on hints, all to escape the room.

Thrilling, exciting and not your typical game. Novus has been a highly-rated escape room on TripAdvisor and rightfully so!

For 2-3 players, it only costs SR180/player. For 4-8 players, each person pays SR 150.

For more information, contact: +966 12 206 6253

5. One must try eating something from Al- Baik, at least once!

The restaurant that has stood the test of loyalty amongst its frequent diners. Al Baik has at least 300 branches in Jeddah alone, so that should sort of speak for itself. It’s not the fanciest but it does the job when you’re in that rush of hunger.

I mean, a full meal will only cost ya a whopping SR 14 max. Amazing.

6. Reminisce or relax while viewing the stunning King Fahad’s fountain!

Built in the ’80s and is Guinness-certified as the tallest fountain in the world. How privileged are we to be able to bask in the glory of this stream of water?

7. Live out your inner Tarzan (or Jane) at the Jungle Land Theme Park

Located in Mersal Village, this jungle-themed park is perfect for anyone looking to get an Amazonian forest-y feel- even though we’re in sunny Jeddah this summer.

Watch a live circus performance, partake in the crazy rides and relive your inner childhood.

For more information, contact: +966 12 288 1111

This article was first published in Lovin Saudi

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link Lovin Saudi Home

11 Romantic Restaurants In Jeddah Perfect For Celebrating Any Occasion

Time: January 02, 2018


Jeddah is a city home to amazing restaurants. Jeddawis love to eat out and when it comes to special occasion, we are selective.

Here is a list of 11 places you can choose to surprise your loved one.


Zodiac is a place fit for any occasion, it gets a bit more special with wedding anniversaries – the exquisite view of the city, an arresting ambience, a candle lit table with pink and red petals of roses all over, elegant crystal glasses serving mock tails, soulful music is the ultimate place for couples celebrating their special day. The menu offers variety of dishes consisting mainly European cuisine. At the end of the meal, a delightful band of waiters come up with a made-fresh cake and a zodiac card to surprise your loved one. The best part – all this is happening without drawing too much attention from fellow diners!

Le Ceil

Le Ceil is the first and only revolving restaurant in Jeddah. Located at 15 floor it offers a breath-taking view of the city! The reaturant rotates slowly and takes 1.5 hours to finish a turn, offering a different view of Jeddah as you relish a French style cuisine. The friendly staff and French interior adds value to the overall experience but it’s pricey as an average couple meal would cost no less than SAR 500!

Al Malaki Lounge Terrace and Noodles Restaurant, Rosewood Hotel

If you are looking to spend your special day by the sunset and can afford a pricey 1250 SR per couple, Al Malaki Lounge at Rosewood would be an unforgettable experience. Expect great food, sunset view and an extremely attentive staff.

Overall, a heavenly and refreshing experience to celebrate after a working long day. A less pricey option would be Noodles restaurant featuring authentic Chinese cuisine with a contemporary touch.

There’s a special package for newlyweds with a four course meal in a private setting!

Reyhana, Ritz Carlton

Eating at a Reyhana is no less than royal dining experience. The soul of Ritz Carlton lies at the exceptional customer service and brilliant architecture with intricate hand-made chandeliers that will leave you awe-struck!

While marveling at the interior, you can enjoy freshly prepared Arabic, Western and Asian dishes with a contemporary touch. If you are looking for sophistication, elegance, fine dishes led by the inspiring Chef Thomas who has worked in Dubai’s finest restaurants, Reyhana would be for you.

Le Traiteur

It’s a French restaurant with a very, very classic theme – interior, table/chair, silverware, staff mannerism, uniform and even the music – all pretty classic. Smoked salmon and onion soup are great dishes to delve in. Desserts are devilishly good especially the Raspberry Macaroon.

You will be left with a very high appreciation for authentic French cuisine and romantic memories.

Aromi, Qasr Al Sharq

A calm place serving amazing Italian dishes, located in 7 star hotel Qasr Alsharq Hotel by the beach, the crystal and gold chandelier transports you to a whole new level of luxury. You can customize your special occasion by arranging every detail with the staff. Table setting, candles, flowers, lighting and dessert can all be customized! A fairly reasonable price for a romantic dining serving Italian cuisine in town. Best part – the restaurant exceeds most visitors’ expectation for special occasions!

Aubergine, Roco Forte Assila

If you love colors, and lots of them, you’re going to enjoy Aubergine at Roco Forte Assila. The outdoor tables by the pool offer the perfect celebration opportunity during daytime. You’ll have a variety of dishes to choose for your 3 course menu including Turkish, Lebanese, Armenian and Mediterranean.

It is located on 20th floor of the hotel and offers excellent shisha as well with a delicious desserts like Ocoa and Fig, a flourless dark chocolate cake with stuffed date tuile and caramel ice cream.

A contemporary, sleek design with a luxurious outlook- perfect for couples who do not like over-the-top decors!

Hanain, Shalal Theme Park

Looking for a romantic dinner middle of a lake? Hanain Chinese Restaurant would be the one. Creating a tropical mood surrounded with trees and water gives diners a serene yet natural atmosphere to celebrate.

Fine dining restaurants with great ambience sometimes offer disappointing flavors. Hanain ticks the boxes for flavorsome Chinese food, ambience and customer service. The crispy and pricey Peking Duck is perhaps the most authentic Chinese dish you’ll find in Jeddah and what’s cool? during humidity, the AC installed in bamboo trees gives you a comfortable experience right in the middle of the lake!

Louis, Teotra Mall

An upscale French restaurant located in Teotra mall. Staffs are well experienced in dealing with special occasion, so you won’t be disappointed. The outdoor setting overlooks the huge Teotra mall lounge which looks amazing during daytime.

A calm and romantic place where you can find the finest Fondant and soufflés.Great for birthday celebrations!

Belajio Resort

Belajio resort consists of several restaurants located by the sea. Dar Al Qamar is a lovely place overlooking the blue ocean at daytime. The place has dishes from Italy, Indian and Lebanese cuisine. A beautiful place to relax away from the city on your special occasion. The Shisha is worth trying out too. A great place if you want to celebrate with kids!


An upscale Spanish restaurant fit for a special occasion. A dinner for two would cost around SAR 500+. You will love their authentic, inspiring Spanish cuisine, well presented dishes, contemporary interior, great cooking, high quality ingredients while you dine overlooking the sea and king fahad fountain! Rico means richness in Spanish and it is truly an enriching experience for romantic dining.

This article was first published in Lovin Saudi

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The Red Sea project

Source: Arab News

Dec 12, 2017

Fact Sheet

The Red Sea project

The Red Sea project will be a luxury resort destination situated across the islands of alagoon and steeped in nature and culture. It will set new standards for sustainabledevelopment and bring about the next generation of luxury travel to put Saudi Arabiaon the international tourism map.

Location and resources

The Red Sea project is located along the Western coast of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,between the cities of Umluj and Al Wajh. The area is characterized by its year-roundtemperate climate, with average summer temperatures reaching up to 31°C.

Envisioned as an exquisite luxury resort destination established across 50 untouchednatural islands in a lagoon that stretches along 200 kilometers of stunning coastline,

The Red Sea will be situated on the site of one of the world’s last natural hiddentreasures.

The project will form an archipelago that is home to environmentally protected coralreefs, mangroves, and several endangered marine species, including the hawksbill seaturtle. It also boasts dormant volcanoes, the most recently active of which has arecorded history of activity dating back to the 17th century AD. In addition, The Red

Sea project’s nature reserve is inhabited by rare wildlife including Arabian leopards,

Arabian wolves, Arabian wildcats, and falcons.

Tourists will also be able to visit the ancient ruins at Mada’in Saleh, which date backthousands of years, and are renowned for their beauty and historical significance. It isalso the first heritage location in Saudi Arabia to be classified as UNESCO WorldHeritage site.

Project Features

The Red Sea will serve as a center of the wellness movement and a showcase for ahealthy, engaged, and vibrant society. Visitors to The Red Sea resort will enjoy plentyof sunshine, pristine white sandy beaches, and for the more adventurous, various eco,historical, and cultural excursions, both on land and in the sea.

The resort will also offer popular activities including water sports – with The Red Seafamed for being one of the world’s best dive sites. In addition to extreme sports –parachuting, trekking, and rock climbing – as well as culturally enriching visits to theArab Heritage Museum and the ArcheologyCenter.

Targeting local, regional, and international tourists, The Red Sea project is projected towelcome one million visitors per annum by 2035, with the yearly number of visitorscapped in order to protect the ecosystem and preserve the area’s natural habitat. Toachieve this ambitious goal, the newly mapped semi-autonomous area will be governedby laws on par with international standards that will include no visa requirements formost nationalities. In addition, the regulatory framework of this project will set newstandards for sustainable development and environmental protection, to ensure theconservation of the Kingdom’s natural environment in accordance with the higheststandards of ecological best practice.



Project Timeline

The initial groundbreaking of The Red Sea project is expected in the third quarter of

  1. Completion of phase one of the project is anticipated by the last quarter of 2022,including the development of hotels and luxury residential units, as well as all logisticalinfrastructure – including air, land, and sea transport hubs.

Socio-economic Impact

With tourism representing the second most important sector in Saudi Arabia, The RedSea will spearhead the diversification of the Kingdom’s leisure industry. As outlined inVision 2030, the project also aims to diversify the Kingdom’s tourism offerings to createa year-round hospitality sector, while promoting cultural conservation and economicstimulation through local and international investments and spending. This is projectedto achieve a contribution of SAR 15 billion per annum to the Kingdom’s GDP, in additionto creating up to 35,000 jobs, once it is up and running.

Saudi city of al-Jahwa stands tall after 4,000 years

SOURCE:  Al Arabiya English

Time: October 01, 2017

The ancient city of al-Jahwa is located on the south of Wadi al-Namas and was known to have been inhabited by the Bani Bakr tribe.

The city has been profiled by the prolific author al-Hamadani in his book “The features of the Arabian Peninsula”. It the book, al-Hamadani says Jahwa is larger than the city of Jarash and was the base of a small Sultanate until 320 AH. The remnants of its ancient bases and its huge wall, which was built with large stones, still stand today.

Jahwa’s old market, known as the al-Rass market, has nothing left after years of urban and agricultural encroachments. The remaining monuments at the city include furnaces and iron slag, which indicate that the inhabitants of the ancient city of Jahwa practiced iron mining as well.

Jahwa is strategically located, as it is characterized by the surrounding mountains and its fertile soil. It is close to the Shefa Tihama, whose people went shopping in the markets during the winters through the old Yahween (Jahween) Aqaba, a route to the town of Khatt in the Tihama valleys.

The city has not enjoyed the historical recognition in the fields of exploration and tourism, although it is one of the oldest cities in Saudi Arabia. It is also considered one of the earliest civilized cities, with the earliest inhabitants dating back almost 2,300 years ago. After the destruction of the Marib dam, its first inhabitants fled from Yemen.

Some reports have indicated that the city was inhabited even earlier than that, as per what Lebanese historian Kamal al-Salibi discovered. If what he said is true, the city will have more than 4,000 years old of history to its name.

Saudi Arabia to make historic Red Sea coast new global tourism destination

Time: August 8, 2017

Qasr al Farid, a tomb at the pre-Islamic archeological site of Madain Saleh, Saudi Arabia (Richard.hargas/Creative Commons)

In its latest move to diversify away from oil, Saudi Arabia has announced an ambitious plan to turn a vast area of its western Red Sea coast into a tourism hot spot featuring 50 pristine islands, white sandy beaches, and pre-Islamic history and culture.

Called the Red Sea Project, the plan launched by the young Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman last week envisages a dedicated new airport and sea port to draw high-end sun and culture seekers to an area covering some 34,000 square kilometres – an area bigger than Belgium – on the Red Sea coast between the cities of Umluj and Al Wajh.

Attractions will include a protected nature reserve, coral reefs, the extinct volcanoes of Harrat Al-Rahat and, inland, the ruins of of Madain Saleh (pictured above), a Unesco World Heritage Site with structures dating to the pre-Islamic Nabatean Kingdom of the 1st century AD.

“Heritage sites will … be restored on a scientific basis to be ready for visitors,” reported the Saudi Gazette.

“If you can’t change restrictions on alcohol and dress, that market effectively disappears”– Crispin Hawes, Teneo Intelligence

Funded by the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund, which is chaired by the 31-year-old Bin Salman, the Red Sea Project will try and lure international hotel companies to build seaside resorts on the coast and pristine islands.

The scheme is expected to create 35,000 jobs and inject annual revenues of $4bn (15 billion riyals) into the Saudi economy when it is “up and running”, according to a government statement on the project sent to Bloomberg.

On 1 August the official Saudi Press Agency said: “The foundation will be laid in the third quarter of 2019 and the first phase will be completed in the last quarter of 2022, a time which will see the development of the airport, the port, the development of hotels and luxury residences, the completion of facilities and infrastructure, and transport services (boats, water jets, etc.).”

What about alcohol?

The Saudi Gazette notes that tourism is a key plank of the kingdom’s “Vision 2030” economic plan launched by Bin Salman in April 2016. While tourism in Saudi Arabia now revolves almost exclusively around Islamic religious pilgrimages, the Red Sea Project “will contribute to a qualitative shift in the concept of tourism and hospitality”, the Gazettesaid.

Analysts, however, are asking whether the strictly Muslim country will relax rules on alcohol and dress in order to cater for the international tourism market, as Egypt has done on the other side of the Red Sea.

“If you can’t change restrictions on alcohol and dress, that market effectively disappears,” Crispin Hawes, London-based managing director at Teneo Intelligence, told Bloomberg. He added that the government will need to “get through the cultural and legal hurdles”.

The question will be a test for the energetic and reform-minded Bin Salman, who was unexpectedly elevated to the position of crown prince in June this year by his father King Salman. That move deposed the incumbent crown prince Mohammed bin Nayef, King Salman’s nephew, in a departure from Saudi dynastic precedent.

Saudi Arabia’s undeveloped mountainous Red Sea coast glimpsed from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula (Leonid Spektor/Dreamstime)

But Bin Salman’s plan won the public backing of the kingdom’s Minister of Culture and Information, Dr. Awad bin Saleh Al-Awad, who statedthrough the official press agency that “this project represents great addition to the development and renaissance projects in our country”.

Cities in the sand

Equally challenging for the crown prince will be just getting the project phases built and making it all pay. Saudi Arabia has attempted the wholesale implantation of new economic sectors by the construction of new “cities” in the desert since 2005, with limited success so far.

Chief among these is King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC). Launched in 2005 on the Red Sea coast north of Jeddah, this development, with a planned completed area of some 170 square kilometres, was intended to attract a flood of global business to its industrial, financial and logistics hubs, but inward investment so far has amounted only to a trickle, with many companies setting up there coming from Saudi Arabia itself.

Another is the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD), intended to rival the Dubai International Financial Centre by luring banks and other financial-services firms. Under construction north of Riyadh since 2006, the complex is 70% complete but as of last April, not a single financial institution had agreed to take space in the 73 buildings rising from the sand, Bloomberg reported.

Bin Salman acknowledged the problem in his Vision 2030 blueprint of last year. “We are aware that the economic cities of the last decade did not realize their potential,” it said. “Work has halted in several cities, and others face challenges that threaten their viability.” It said the government would work to “salvage” and “revamp” economic city projects launched over the past decade.

The country has not stopped starting new ones, however, and tourism seems to be the new focus. In April Saudi Arabia announced plans to build a 334-sq-km “entertainment city” on the outskirts of Riyadh that will provide facilities for sports, culture and recreation. Among the attractions will be a safari and a theme park designed by Texan entertainment company Six Flags.

Top image: Qasr al Farid, a tomb at the pre-Islamic archeological site of Madain Saleh, Saudi Arabia (Richard.hargas/Creative Commons)

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Saudi Arabia launches luxury Red Sea beach resorts plan


4th August 2017

(CNN) — Picture luxury beach destinations and you probably conjure dreamy images of the Maldives or the Seychelles, but Saudi Arabia? Not so much.
But that could change with an ambitious plan to develop part of Saudi Arabia’s west coast into a Red Sea resort.
The Red Sea project will unlock the potential of 125 miles of spectacular coastline and 50 reef-fringed islands with the development of hotels and luxury residences in a designated tourist zone.
Construction, including a new airport, is set to begin in 2019, while the resort will be “governed by laws on par with international standards,” said the government.

Bikinis on the beach?

That could mean women will be allowed to sunbathe and swim wearing bikinis, hitherto unheard of in the conservative kingdom where women are expected to cover their skin with robe-like dresses known as “abayas.”
Under Saudi’s repressive laws, women are forbidden to drive and are unable to travel abroad without a male guardian’s permission.
The scheme is part of the government’s Vision 2030 project, spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which is designed to wean the Saudi economy off a dependence on falling oil revenues.
“The Red Sea project will be a luxury resort destination situated across the islands of a lagoon and steeped in nature and culture,” said Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).
“It will set new standards for sustainable development and bring about the next generation of luxury travel to put Saudi Arabia on the international tourism map.”

Maldives-style luxury beach resorts could be on their way to Saudi Arabia.

Maldives-style luxury beach resorts could be on their way to Saudi Arabia.
Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort

Eased restrictions in tourist zone

Restrictions on visitor visas will be eased in the tourist zone, although it is unclear if Saudi’s ban on alcohol will still apply.
The first phase of the project is set to be completed by 2022, with visitors numbering about one million a year by 2035, according to a statement.
Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast faces Egypt, which has seen visitors to its beach resorts decline sharply following a number of terrorist attacks in recent years.
The Saudi statement said the project “will be an extremely safe and secure environment that will ensure the protection of all visitors in accordance with the highest international best practice.”
According to the Saudi Press Agency, the PIF will inject the initial capital while seeking to attract the partnerships of leading names in international tourism and hospitality sectors.
Prince Mohammed is the son of King Salman and is keen to modernize Saudi while retaining its religious and cultural heritage.