SOURCE: Saudi Gazette
Time: Apr 01, 2018
KAEC — King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) is rapidly becoming the weekend destination of choice in Saudi Arabia, attracting more than 100,000 visitors last year. The popularity of the city as a short getaway location reflects growing demand in the Kingdom for new, family-oriented recreational experiences.
The city’s tourism offer is currently centered around the Bay La Sun district and the award-winning Bay La Sun Hotel and Marina, named the Kingdom’s Leading New Hotel at the 2015 World Travel Awards. The hotel, managed by the Al Khozama Group, was also named the Best Full Service Hotel in the Western District in 2015 by the online reservation site Booking.com, which bases its awards on visitor reviews.
The Bay La Sun Weekends festival program for 2016 has already commenced, offering families an opportunity to enjoy a range of children’s entertainment activities, family experiences and beachfront dining in KAEC’s safe and secure environment. The first Weekend this year attracted more than 3,500 people, double the average attendance in 2015. Attendance was boosted by special hotel rates and new recreational facilities, including the Juman Karting Track and the Juman Park.
“KAEC’s Destination 2020 strategy is focused on meeting pent-up demand within the country for leisure and business tourism,” said Fahd Al-Rasheed, Group CEO and Managing Director of KAEC. “The success of the Bay La Sun District and its emerging status as the best weekend break in the country is evidence of growing interest in a relaxed, family-oriented holiday destination that is in keeping with the national culture.”
The Juman Karting track is already seeing strong demand. At 700m in length, the track is the longest recreational karting track in the Kingdom and allows visitors to “arrive and drive” for an exciting, adrenaline-filled experience for the whole family. The track, which lies amongst landscaped gardens in the heart of the Bay La Sun district, is fully lit for night racing, meaning visitors can enjoy the facilities throughout the year.
Directly adjacent to the track is the new Juman Park, a family-focused green space with a range of recreational activities from sports facilities to a unique 18-hole miniature golf course. The park and its canal-side promenade spans an area of more than 55,000 square meters, with a wide range of leisure options and exercise areas, and a large waterfront amphitheater overlooks the Bay La Sun Canal.
“We are seeing robust and growing demand for tourism activities at KAEC, reflected in the record opening of the 2016 Bay La Sun Weekends season and fast-growing interest in Juman Karting and the Park,” said Ramzi Solh, CEO of Commercial Development at KAEC. “The new attractions that we are launching later this year, including a floating water park, a 4D theater and the Royal Greens Golf Club, will secure KAEC’s position as the best short-break destination in the country.”
To manage the increased number of families booking weekend breaks at the city, KAEC has launched an online portal through which visitors can buy tickets, book karting sessions and get updates on the city’s calendar of events. The site is intended to streamline the process of booking visits and managing security procedures at the city.
Saudis spent more than SR30 billion on domestic tourism in 2014, and KAEC is investing heavily in leisure and tourism projects to capture some of that spend. The city is currently developing 38 new tourism and leisure projects, including world class water parks, zoos, amusement parks, exhibition centers, a world-class golf course, equestrian trails, recreation clubs, and ten new hotels and resorts.
“KAEC’s Destination 2020 strategy is intended to further develop the Kingdom’s tourism sector, creating much needed employment opportunities for young Saudis,” said Ramzi Solh. “KAEC is on track to attract more than 1 million leisure and business tourists to the city by 2020 by providing a range of world-class facilities for relaxation and enjoyment with the added value of a pristine beachfront location.”