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-   -   Saudi Arabia opens its doors to tourists (http://www.travelbanter.com/showthread.php?t=89727)

eetinBelgiŽ May 17th, 2006 08:17 AM

Saudi Arabia opens its doors to tourists
 
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/ma...ixtrvhome.html

Saudi Arabia opens its doors to tourists
By Teresa Machan (Filed: 13/05/2006)


Saudi Arabia hopes to attract a million visitors a year with the help
of a new tourism visa.


Eighteen approved tour operators in the kingdom have begun offering
visa services as part of a series of tourism initiatives announced last
week at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai. The Saudi government is
also to begin issuing permits for tour guides from next month.

Until now, Saudi Arabia has been a place where people go to work rather
than play: the population of 24 million includes seven million foreign
workers, 24,000 of them Britisf nationals. Alcohol is banned, as is
photography of government buildings and palaces. Islamic principles and
social customs are strictly observed and the country adheres to Sharia
law, which allows corporal and capital punishment.

In line with its Middle Eastern neighbours, the Saudi government has
recognised the potential economic benefits of tourism as world oil
reserves dwindle.

Raed Habiss, managing director of one of the tour operators,
Destinations of the Kingdom, said Saudi Arabia was keen to attract
British visitors and would offer attractive rates to travel agents.

Among the first deals on offer was seven nights at a five-star hotel in
Jeddah, including guided tours, from £750 (excluding flights).

"It is a country of cultural and geographical diversity," Mr Habiss
said. "As well as coast, mountains and desert, we have spectacular
heritage sites, unexplored dive sites and theme parks designed by
Disney engineers." Wildlife includes the Arabian leopard and the oryx.

Hoteliers are also showing confidence in Saudi Arabia. Hilton has
chosen Jeddah for its first all-suite property, to open later this
month, and the Swiss chain MŲvenpick has signed contracts for three
properties in the country, including a five-star hotel in Yanbu on the
Red Sea coast. The luxury American chain Rosewood is to open a third
hotel in Jeddah, which, in a first for the country, will have a
dedicated female floor staffed entirely by women.

Last month, Bmi began a three-times weekly service from Heathrow to
Jeddah to complement a similar service to Riyadh, launched last year. A
spokesman said there had been a steady increase in passengers using the
Riyadh service and similar traffic was expected to Jeddah.

A Saudi Arabian low-cost airline, Sama, is due to be launched this
summer.

Mr Habiss said that concerns over Saudi Arabia's less-than-favourable
image overseas were unfounded. "Saudi Arabia is part of the modern
world now. We cannot continue to be isolated. The Western perception is
different from the reality. Saudis are known for their hospitality, and
visitors who come will feel very differently."

Male and female visitors will have to cover up. Foreign females must
don the full-length abaya, and women under 40 must be accompanied by a
male relative.

A tourist visa can be issued as part of a package to groups of a
minimum four people.

No British tour operators have immediate plans to feature Saudi Arabia,
but Kuoni, which offers trips to Oman, Jordan, Lebanon and the UAE,
will wait to gauge demand.


Gerald Oliver Swift May 17th, 2006 08:45 AM

Saudi Arabia opens its doors to tourists
 

"eetinBelgiŽ" wrote

Saudi Arabia opens its doors to tourists
By Teresa Machan (Filed: 13/05/2006)

Saudi Arabia hopes to attract a million visitors a year with the help
of a new tourism visa.


Make that 999,999
Gerry



Gregory Morrow May 17th, 2006 09:59 AM

Saudi Arabia opens its doors to tourists
 

Dave Frightens Me wrote:

On 17 May 2006 00:17:28 -0700, "eetinBelgiŽ"
wrote:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/ma...ixtrvhome.html

Saudi Arabia opens its doors to tourists
By Teresa Machan (Filed: 13/05/2006)


In line with its Middle Eastern neighbours, the Saudi government has
recognised the potential economic benefits of tourism as world oil
reserves dwindle.


I am sure tourists will happily walk and swim there in droves when the
dwindling occurs.



"All in all, I'd rather be in Albania..."

--
Best
Greg


Dave Frightens Me May 17th, 2006 11:03 AM

Saudi Arabia opens its doors to tourists
 
On 17 May 2006 00:17:28 -0700, "eetinBelgiŽ"
wrote:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/ma...ixtrvhome.html

Saudi Arabia opens its doors to tourists
By Teresa Machan (Filed: 13/05/2006)


In line with its Middle Eastern neighbours, the Saudi government has
recognised the potential economic benefits of tourism as world oil
reserves dwindle.


I am sure tourists will happily walk and swim there in droves when the
dwindling occurs.
--
---
DFM - http://www.deepfriedmars.com
---
--

Pat in TX May 17th, 2006 01:03 PM

Saudi Arabia opens its doors to tourists
 

Saudi Arabia opens its doors to tourists
By Teresa Machan (Filed: 13/05/2006)

Saudi Arabia hopes to attract a million visitors a year with the help
of a new tourism visa.


Make that 999,999
Gerry


Just male tourists? I can't think of a single female who would voluntarily
go there....







The Reid May 17th, 2006 01:41 PM

Saudi Arabia opens its doors to tourists
 
Following up to Dave Frightens Me

In line with its Middle Eastern neighbours, the Saudi government has
recognised the potential economic benefits of tourism as world oil
reserves dwindle.


I am sure tourists will happily walk and swim there in droves when the
dwindling occurs.


I wonder if they have thought of that?
--
Mike Reid
Walk-eat-photos UK "http://www.fellwalk.co.uk" -- you can email [email protected] this site
Walk-eat-photos Spain "http://www.fell-walker.co.uk" -- [email protected] all, it's a spamtrap

The Reid May 17th, 2006 01:41 PM

Saudi Arabia opens its doors to tourists
 
Following up to Pat in TX

Just male tourists? I can't think of a single female who would voluntarily
go there....


Mecca must be impressive, tour of the shrine with my wife and a
few cool beers girl watching afterwards, just avoid the Haj, its
a bit of a crush I hear....why are you all shaking your heads?
--
Mike Reid
Walk-eat-photos UK "http://www.fellwalk.co.uk" -- you can email [email protected] this site
Walk-eat-photos Spain "http://www.fell-walker.co.uk" -- [email protected] all, it's a spamtrap

The Reid May 17th, 2006 01:52 PM

Saudi Arabia opens its doors to tourists
 
Following up to Dave Frightens Me

I do, but they would likely change their minds after a bit of
learning...


Thesinger liked it, can we call one of the great travellers
wrong?
--
Mike Reid
Walk-eat-photos UK "http://www.fellwalk.co.uk" -- you can email [email protected] this site
Walk-eat-photos Spain "http://www.fell-walker.co.uk" -- [email protected] all, it's a spamtrap

Tom Peel May 17th, 2006 01:57 PM

Saudi Arabia opens its doors to tourists
 
eetinBelgiŽ schrieb:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/ma...ixtrvhome.html

Saudi Arabia opens its doors to tourists
By Teresa Machan (Filed: 13/05/2006)


Saudi Arabia hopes to attract a million visitors a year with the help
of a new tourism visa.


Eighteen approved tour operators in the kingdom have begun offering
visa services as part of a series of tourism initiatives announced last
week at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai. The Saudi government is
also to begin issuing permits for tour guides from next month.

Until now, Saudi Arabia has been a place where people go to work rather
than play: the population of 24 million includes seven million foreign
workers, 24,000 of them Britisf nationals. Alcohol is banned, as is
photography of government buildings and palaces. Islamic principles and
social customs are strictly observed and the country adheres to Sharia
law, which allows corporal and capital punishment.

In line with its Middle Eastern neighbours, the Saudi government has
recognised the potential economic benefits of tourism as world oil
reserves dwindle.


Isn't it interesting that the countries with the largest oil reserves
are the ones that are planning for a future without oil, while the rest
of the world blunders onwards as if there were tomorrow.


T.


Raed Habiss, managing director of one of the tour operators,
Destinations of the Kingdom, said Saudi Arabia was keen to attract
British visitors and would offer attractive rates to travel agents.

Among the first deals on offer was seven nights at a five-star hotel in
Jeddah, including guided tours, from £750 (excluding flights).


I've been told that the Red Sea near Jeddah has some of the world's
finest scuba diving locations- up till now virtually inaccessible.


"It is a country of cultural and geographical diversity," Mr Habiss
said. "As well as coast, mountains and desert, we have spectacular
heritage sites, unexplored dive sites and theme parks designed by
Disney engineers." Wildlife includes the Arabian leopard and the oryx.

Hoteliers are also showing confidence in Saudi Arabia. Hilton has
chosen Jeddah for its first all-suite property, to open later this
month, and the Swiss chain MŲvenpick has signed contracts for three
properties in the country, including a five-star hotel in Yanbu on the
Red Sea coast. The luxury American chain Rosewood is to open a third
hotel in Jeddah, which, in a first for the country, will have a
dedicated female floor staffed entirely by women.

Last month, Bmi began a three-times weekly service from Heathrow to
Jeddah to complement a similar service to Riyadh, launched last year. A
spokesman said there had been a steady increase in passengers using the
Riyadh service and similar traffic was expected to Jeddah.

A Saudi Arabian low-cost airline, Sama, is due to be launched this
summer.

Mr Habiss said that concerns over Saudi Arabia's less-than-favourable
image overseas were unfounded. "Saudi Arabia is part of the modern
world now. We cannot continue to be isolated. The Western perception is
different from the reality. Saudis are known for their hospitality, and
visitors who come will feel very differently."

Male and female visitors will have to cover up. Foreign females must
don the full-length abaya, and women under 40 must be accompanied by a
male relative.

A tourist visa can be issued as part of a package to groups of a
minimum four people.

No British tour operators have immediate plans to feature Saudi Arabia,
but Kuoni, which offers trips to Oman, Jordan, Lebanon and the UAE,
will wait to gauge demand.


Des Small May 17th, 2006 02:00 PM

Saudi Arabia opens its doors to tourists
 
The Reid writes:

Following up to Dave Frightens Me

I do, but they would likely change their minds after a bit of
learning...


Thesinger liked it, can we call one of the great travellers
wrong?


Can we call her opinions past their use-by date? Yes we can!

Des


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