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Saudi Arabia to reopen AlUla in October

Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site AlUla will officiall re-open and welcome visitors in October 2020.
According to the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU), which continues to develop AlUla into a pre-eminent global tourism destination, AlUla’s landmarks of unprecedented historical and cultural significance and its 250,000 years of human legacy are going to be accessible for all visitors all year round.
With a focus firmly on conservation and responsible tourism, since 2017 RCU has been transforming AlUla into a must-visit culture and heritage destination.

Visitors will be able to access the main heritage sites, cultural touring options and a range of adventure experiences.
Phillip Jones, Chief Destination Officer, RCU said, “With the rebound of the travel sector undoubtedly starting close to home, KSA residents within a drive or a short flight of AlUla will get a head start on experiencing the raw, natural beauty and monumentality of landscapes in their backyard.”
Overnight visitors can choose from five accommodation, each with its own take on desert luxury. AlUla’s accommodation rooms are set to progressively increase to more than 9,400 by 2035.
The four key heritage sites that visitors will now be able to access are, Hegra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; Dadan, probably one of the most developed 1st millennium BCE cities of the Arabian Peninsula; Jabal Ikmah, often referred to as the ‘Lihyanite library’, offering insights to ancient beliefs, rituals and practices of every-day life; and Old Town, the ancient walled city of AlUla which has been at the crossroad of civilisations from the twelfth century CE.

In addition, walks, treks and trails will be available either in self-guide versions, or a tour by the local Rawi (Arabic storyteller)—perfect for visitors who want to delve deeper into the stories and customs of the region.
“We are developing immersive, light-touch experiences that harness the power and silence of the landscapes, experiences like guided stargazing in a desert night sky that has inspired science, religion, philosophy, art and literature for millennia,” said Jones.
Adventure tourists will also be catered for, whether it’s through touring them around the sand-scapes in a desert buggy, or taking them to the skies in a vintage light air-craft to see volcanic craters and key hole tombs in the lava fields of Harrat Khaybar.

For families, Hijrat Noura or Princess Noura Farm, located close to Hegra, offers a chance to get up close and personal with the the region’s local flora and fauna.
Winter Park, an experience developed for the Winter at Tantora festival, will also make a comeback as a more permanent attraction offering a casual open-air atmosphere for food trucks and art installations.
After a day of sightseeing, visitors can stroll through the cool and sheltered oasis—a green canopy of palm groves where the air is perfumed with the scent of dates, orange and mint grown nearby.
Dining options, meanwhile, include local restaurants producing meals sourced from nearby farms.

For business tourists, architectural world wonder Maraya offers a multi-use 500-seat events venue that is covered in 10,000 square metres of mirrors—reflecting the surrounding landscape. Maraya is scheduled to re-open in December 2020.
“A visit to AlUla offers a transformative experience for visitors. It has vast open spaces and rich civilisations, and offers a pure wonder of its landmarks—both old and new,” added Jones.

Staff Report

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