Saudi Arabia plans to turn the historical city of AlUla in the northeast into an international tourism center that draws visitors interested in art and culture.
The Royal Commission for AlUla, the body tasked with developing and implementing sustainability initiatives, presented its plans for developing tourism at its natural reserves.
Members of the commission took part in a panel discussion at the Hospitality of Tomorrow virtual conference organized by Bench Events.
The participants said that the Royal Commission aims to attract two million visitors annually to AlUla, create 38,000 jobs, contribute 120 billion riyals (32 billion dollars) to the country’s Gross Domestic Product and protect AlUla’s historical and cultural heritage sites.
The conference was organized to provide a platform for discussion between stakeholders and leaders in the hospitality sector with the aim of speeding up its recovery by establishing the ties needed to build understanding and enhance relations and unity.
In the session, Abdulrahman Alsuhaibani, Director of Museums and Exhibitions, and Heritage Consultant, Royal Commission for AlUla said that AlUla is an exceptional site that has had human existence for more than 200,000 years, and the successive civilizations that inhabited it left rich and diverse legacies that makeup AlUla’s rich heritage. "We have a new and important old story that we would like to tell its chapters; accordingly, preserving AlUla and protecting its treasures and its heritage is among our priorities.”
The invigorating role that arts play in the development of AlUla and bringing in the local community was also discussed, with Nora Aldabal Arts and Culture Programming Director, Royal Commission for AlUla saying: “Bringing attention to AlUla as a cultural center supports creativity and artistic exchange (...) in cooperation with international bodies such as Desert X, where artists had the opportunity to make exhibitions in the context of societies, making society an essential pillar of the experiment’s success.”
Neville Wakefield from Desert X stressed that culture is the center of communication, adding that they worked to attract artists from all over the world and urged them to participate in the discussion and establish channels of dialogue amongst themselves as they visited the natural sites of AlUla.