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Caroline Leon: Set to Become the First Female Mountaineer To Climb All 15 Peaks In The Middle East

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Caroline Leon is an Australian-born Dubai-based mountain climber and now the pioneering climber is set to take on a new adventure of climbing 15 of the highest peaks in the Middle East and North Africa.

In doing so, she will scale a total of 40,000m in only 30 days! This daring climb is inspired by a life-threatening event that she suffered back in 2015 where she fell from seven meters high, leaving her rehabilitating for two years.

“I am thrilled to embark on this adventure – trekking up every peak in the Middle East is a psychological, physical and mental feat,” says 34-year-old Leon. “After almost a decade of working and living in the region, I have found it to be incredibly intriguing, and I would like to show people its real beauty. I believe we are only bound by the limits we set on ourselves.”

Leon will become the first woman ever to do this with 15/16 countries in 30/31 days on the road, and this entire challenge is in support of her favorite UAE charity Gulf For Good.

“We are delighted to support Caroline on this adventure,” added Nour Suliman CEO of DHL Express in the Middle East and North Africa, because DHL is the sponsor of the climb. “She has incredible grit and passion, and is continuously looking to conquer new frontiers. Her remarkable strength of character and can-do attitude resonates with our brand values and she is an inspiration to us all at DHL. We send her our best wishes, and we will be providing her all the support she needs.”

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Travel

Saudi Summer: Newest Campaign to Encourage Domestic Tourism

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The Saudi Tourism Authority has launched a new campaign called ‘Saudi Summer’ to boost domestic tourism and encourage Saudis to explore the wonders of the Kingdom.

This follows the lifting of lockdown restrictions that lasted months, because of the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic.

The campaign comes after the STA’s extensive research that showed that 57% of Saudis are still worried about traveling by plane, while 85% are still planning to spend a 10-day holiday, and 78% showed interest in exploring the country.

The summer campaign encourages residents to explore the different stunning locations of the Kingdom, and discover its historical, natural and cultural treasures.

“The campaign also contributes to enhancing efforts by the Ministry of Tourism to revive the tourism sector, which was most affected by the repercussions of the coronavirus crisis,” said Ahmed Al Khateeb, Minister of Tourism and Chairman of the STA.

The campaign just launched today and will run until September 30th, it will be promoting ten locations across the nation. including: Jeddah and KAEC; Abha; Tabuk; Khobar, Dammam and Ahsa; Al Baha; Al Taif; Yanbu, Umluj; and Riyadh.

“The tourism sector resumes its activities with a renewed spirit and great hopes for moving forward at an accelerated pace, to achieve our aspirations in harmony with Saudi Vision 2030, which seeks to pursue economic diversification, attract investments, increase revenues and create job opportunities for citizens,” the minister added.

 

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Travel

The Kingdom to Launch a $4bn Tourism Development Fund

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In another attempt to diversify the economy of the Kingdom and attract more foreign tourists, Saudi Arabia has started a fund with an initial capital of $4 billion aiming at developing the tourism industry.

The Tourism Development Fund will launch a range of equity and debt investment vehicles and has $45bn in memorandum of understandings signed with private banks, according to a statement. “Funding will be deployed to support mixed-use destinations, to address gaps in the tourism value chain, and to enable technologically-enhanced tourism,” it said.

“The launch of the fund at this time, as the tourism sector faces unprecedented global challenges, is testament to investor and private-sector confidence in the long-term outlook for tourism in Saudi Arabia,” Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb said in the statement.

Just last year, the Kingdom opened its doors to welcome international travelers, by launching a new visa regime while appealing to foreign companies to invest in the sector, which it hopes will contribute more than 10% of gross domestic product by 2030, up from 3% currently.

The country expects the tourism industry to contribute more than 10% of its annual GDP and create more than one million jobs by 2030.

The launch is part of the first phase of the National Tourism Strategy, which focuses on developing and enhancing 38 sites across seven destinations by 2022.

There’s no doubt that analysts do predict a severe economic hit this year, caused by the pandemic but let’s keep our fingers crossed that this shall soon come to an end.

 

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Tourism Activities to Resume As of June 21st

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Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb announced that the Kingdom will resume touristic activities as of June 21st after a hiatus that lasted for three months.

The hiatus that lasted months followed the lockdown measures that were imposed, in light of the of virus outbreak.

The minister made the announcement during a TV interview that followed an emergency meeting of the Arab Ministerial Council for Tourism that was held on Wednesday.

The minister said that Saudi Arabia is ready for the launch of the summer tourism program, which aims at boosting the domestic tourism.

“It was revealed in a research study carried out by the Tourism Authority that 80 percent of Saudi citizens want to take advantage of domestic tourism. We will launch the domestic tourism program for the public after having made necessary coordination with the Ministry of Health and the concerned higher authorities,” he said.

“Saudi Arabia has initiated a package of financial stimulus activities with a total value of more than $61 billion to protect jobs and businesses, and reduce the economic burden of the crisis. The domestic tourism sector has benefited from it as one of the important economic sectors, as it covered 60 percent of salaries of Saudi employees in the private sector for a period of three months,” he added.

The emergency meeting was attended by Arab tourism ministers and officials, who came together to discuss the challenges that the region is now facing because of the pandemic. Saudi minister Al-Khateeb was the one to head the virtual meeting.

 

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