Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia prepares summer holiday campaign with COVID-19 measures

Visitors walk outside al-Ula in Saudi Arabia on February 10, 2019. (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia is preparing to launch a summer vacation campaign in line with coronavirus preventative measures, giving citizens and residents the opportunity to explore the country in the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

The Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) will be preparing activities and packages for people of all ages at destinations across the country, according to details disclosed by the Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) to Al Arabiya English.

The staycation spots will include cities in Saudi Arabia that enjoy moderate temperatures during the summer season.

A tourist walks through the city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Saudi Ministry of Tourism)

A tourist walks through the city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Saudi Ministry of Tourism)

STA is working with different ministries in Saudi Arabia, especially the health ministry, as well as World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) “to ensure the touristic destinations are safe” amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Saudi Arabia has already adopted the WTTC’s “safety stamp” that notifies travelers businesses and sites which have adopted health and hygiene global standardized procedures.

Protocols to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus will be implemented at hotels, tourist sites, and during activities, according to STA.

A diver underwater in Umluj, Saudi Arabia. (Saudi Ministry of Tourism)

A diver underwater in Umluj, Saudi Arabia. (Saudi Ministry of Tourism)

Survey finds over 80 percent of Saudis considering the country for summer vacation

The STA initiative was inspired by a survey that interviewed over 1,000 Saudis in May. The STA survey found that 81 percent of Saudis “would consider discovering Saudi Arabia for their next vacation,” citing the country’s safety and beautiful landscapes as primary reasons. 80 percent said they would avoid traveling to Europe or Asia amid the pandemic.

Almost 75 percent of Saudis said their trust in the government is motivating them to consider summer vacations in the Kingdom, instead of outside. Almost 80 percent expressed a “curiosity to explore my country.”

In addition, over 80 percent of Saudis have not yet booked vacations for summer, according to the survey.

STA plans to offer vacation packages to those in Saudi Arabia looking for a break this summer and the recent easing of restrictions on local travel, including the resumption of internal flights on May 31, will help facilitate domestic tourism.

The limestone hills of Al Qarah in Al Ahsa, Saudi Arabia. (Saudi Ministry of Tourism)

The limestone hills of Al Qarah in Al Ahsa, Saudi Arabia. (Saudi Ministry of Tourism)

Saudi Arabia’s cabinet approved the establishment of the Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) in March, which aims to develop tourism packages and activities, host and organize tourism conferences, and promote Saudi Arabia tourism locally and internationally.

The push for domestic tourism follows the country’s opening up to international tourism last year with the launch of tourist visas in September. The Kingdom welcomed over 500,000 tourists from the program launch up until the coronavirus outbreak in late February.

Saudi Arabia announced Saturday it would lift coronavirus restrictions across the country on June 21.

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Last Update: Sunday, 21 June 2020 KSA 16:46 - GMT 13:46
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