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Saudi Arabian Ballooning Federation Colors the Skies of Al-Ula



After the success of the inaugural Hot Air Balloon Festival during Winter at Tantora Festival that took place earlier this year, the HQ of Saudi Arabian Hot Air Ballooning (SAHAB) Federation is now officially opened in Al-Ula. 

The announcement came on Thursday, and it is considered to be a part of the inaugural celebrations for the SAHAB Federation’s newly established base. During which, seven hot air balloons took over the skies of Al-Ula, captained by pilots from around the world.

It was earlier this year, when 100 balloons lit up the skies of Al-Ula during Winter at Tantora Festival. The place looked extra magical, and it only made sense for the federation to open its headquarters in Al-Ula. 

Here’s a snippet of how colorful the skies looked at Al-Ula, during this year’s Winter at Tantora Festival.

Promoting for Al-Ula certainly began with the enormous festival Winter at Tantora, where a number of performances took on the stage including Yanni.

The place is one of Saudi Arabia’s most beautiful destination for tourism, and having the Hot Air Balloon Festival there left yet another remarkable blueprint for adventure tourism in the Kingdom.

Amr Al-Madani, President of the SAHAB Federation, and CEO of the Royal Commission for Al-Ula (RCU), said in a statement, “Hot air ballooning is the perfect activity to accompany the peace, serenity and extraordinary beauty of the Al-Ula landscape. The launch of the SAHAB Federation’s headquarters in Al-Ula is a commitment to enable and grow an exciting hobby in the Kingdom.

With a mission to develop the Saudi aerostation industry in all its forms, we look forward to providing a platform for meaningful experiences in the Kingdom’s skies for adventure enthusiasts and families alike.”

The establishment of the federation is also expected to benefit the local community of Al-Ula; through providing job opportunities in the field of adventure tourism.

The federation also plans on working along with the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee and the RCU; in order to develop a ballooning community of adventure seekers in the Kingdom and from across the world as well.

Hot Air Ballooning isn’t the only adventurous activity that tourists can enjoy there, Al-Ula is also a go-to destination for hiking.


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Saudi Summer: Newest Campaign to Encourage Domestic Tourism




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




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




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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