Lonely Planet Writer

Saudi Arabia looking to attract visitors for adventure and nature tourism

Saudia Arabia is aiming to develop its eco-tourism potential to boost numbers visiting the middle eastern kingdom. It has designated three sites for this investment. The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) says it will emphasise environmental and adventure tourism.

Saudi Arabia, Madain Saleh, the archaeological site with the Nabatean tomb of the 1st century.
Saudi Arabia, Madain Saleh, the archaeological site with the Nabatean tomb of the 1st century. Image by Shutterstock

Arab News reports that the sites will offer alternative types of accommodation with hostels to the fore as a means of attracting nature lovers and hikers to these new eco-tourism areas. The commission has earmarked a site in Al Ula city, north of Madinah as one of these centres for tourist potential. Part of this development within the Sharan National Park will include a 350,000 sq. metres ‘eco’ hostel as well as a camp.

Edge of the World
Nature lovers and hikers are being attracted to Saudi Arabia.  dImage by Soile Haapalainen/Lonely Planet

In the city of Souq Okaz, Taif, the second site will have a 115,000 sq. metres environmental camp. The newspaper pointed out that this site is close to both the major cities in the Makkah ara and also to Taif airport.

Al Khali desert.
Al Khali desert. Image by Getty Images

In the third site at Uruq Bani Ma’arid, in Najran the planners hope to create an environmental desert camp resort. This will extend across 50,000 sq. metres from the Al Dawaser Valley to Najran. It is envisaged that the project will contain 24 tents and other eco-infrastructure.

The Saudi commission aims to offer management of the tourism schemes on these various sites to the private sector. According to Arabianbusiness.com the three-point tourism plan has been designed to boost investment in the country’s infant tourism industry. This type of tourism has been  undertaken in a number of countries recently, including Portugal.