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Extreme Sports Athelete Jokke Sommer Praises the Activities in Asir

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Extreme-sports athlete Jokke Sommer praised the ongoing transformation of the tourism projects in Saudi Arabia and that the mega projects that are underway will change the perception of the world of how they view the Kingdom.

The Norwegian professional skydiver, BASE jumper and wingsuit flyer has displayed his skills in the region of Asir as part of the Al-Soudah season, he then praised his stay saying that his experience was a pretty good one and is urging others to visit the Kingdom to experience it themselves.

Sommer believes that the media wrongfully portrays Saudi Arabia and that tourism is the way to changing those misleading perceptions projected by international media.

“Once Saudi opens up tourism more, this will change automatically,” he said. “People will see the country is not what people or the media have told them.”

“What makes Al-Soudah cool is mostly the people, the culture and the fact that everyone is curious about what we are doing and so open and peaceful,” he said. He also added that he was impressed by the natural beauty of the Asir region that is surrounded by mountains, which makes an ideal place for the wingsuit flyers taking part in the festival.

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Saudi-Arabia is exceeding all expectations with nothing but love and openness 🙏🏼 The people here is only expressing beauty and happiness, while being beyond welcoming ❤️ The kids are even running around freely with a big smile on their face, without a phone in their hands. I almost feel embarrassed coming from the part of the world that generate hate towards the Muslim culture, but their stoke towards us makes that an easy thing to forget 🥳 It’s quite ironic actually, but the vibe here is far better than any place I’ve visited in the west 🤷🏼‍♂️ but I’m not surprised as reality is constructed in our minds, while media does its job by manipulating it… This moment was from our warmup jump this morning, preparing for a flyby while being way too high above the festival 😅 The only bad vibe we encountered so far, was a few bitchy stray dogs in the landing area 😂 by @lucabarbieriws 📸 @edgetvnetwork @redbullnorge #Mindventure

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“The nature there was very beautiful as well; it was green and surprising,” said Sommer. “We normally think the Middle East is a lot of sand and rocks but it was really nice to fly over green
as well.”

 

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Travel

Saudi Airlines Resume Flights to 20 Destinations in Asia, Europe and Middle East

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As life is slowly returning back to normal and countries are trying to safely cope with the pandemic, Saudi airlines has resumed its international flights to 20 destinations in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

This step comes after a suspension that lasted for seven months and a disruption that the pandemic has caused. The airline is now ready to fly again to Amman, Dubai, Tunis, Cairo, Alexandria, Khartoum, Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Istanbul, London, Madrid, Paris, Washington, DC, Islamabad, Jakarta, Karachi, Kuala Lumpur and Manila.

A partial resumption for international flights started since September 15th, following a six-month strict suspension.

According to the Interior Ministry, all restrictions on air, land and sea transport will end after the first of January 2021, a specific date is yet to be announced in December. The airline normally flies to more than 85 destinations worldwide.

The General Directorate of Passports (GDP) is calling on all Saudis and expats traveling from Saudi Arabia to comply with all safety regulations and health requirements.

The directorate said that those requirements and procedures are constantly updated and without prior notice.

To learn about the travel documents’ regulations and instructions, they can visit the GDP’s official website.

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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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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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