Time: April 27, 2018
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s farmers will be encouraged to open their farms to visitors under plans to diversify tourism in the Kingdom and take advantage of the worldwide popularity of agritourism.
Farm stays and rural tourism represent a growing market around the globe, and the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) is working with other government agencies to benefit from the opportunities it offers as part of Vision 2030 plan to reform the economy.
Majed Al-Sheddi, SCTH director general of media relations, said the commission’s partners included the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs (MoMRA), Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, and the Agricultural Development Fund (ADF).
Agritourism in the Kingdom could create a new tourist market, strengthen social and cultural ties between different communities and bridge the gap between urban and rural populations, Al-Sheddi said.
The Agricultural and Rural Tourism Project, Aryaf, recently met with SCTH team members to review a plan adopted by SCTH President Prince Sultan bin Salman.
Discussions focused on the licensing of small properties in regions and cities, the protection and licensing of farms with historic significance, such as Aryaf Unaizah and Al-Diriyah farms; and licensing of agricultural and rural tourism operators.
The Aryaf initiative aims to increase jobs and improve income for farmers through agritourism, allowing them to develop their products and tourism activities in a way that boosts local economies.
Agricultural and rural tourism workshops for entrepreneurs and farmers have been organized by the SCTH in all Saudi provinces. More than 80 licenses for agricultural tourism have been issued in Riyadh, Qassim, Al-Ahsa, Hail, Tabuk, Najran, Jeddah, Madinah and Taif.
The SCTH believes agritourism represents a fertile environment for future development and investment in the Kingdom in line with Vision 2030 as it will help both farmers and the tourists.
Agriculture and rural tourism will also strengthen coherence between city dwellers and the rural population by sharing the Kingdom’s potential and accomplishments among different regions, the SCTH said.