ROME: In 2022, Italy was among the top five countries of origin for tourists who chose Saudi Arabia as their holiday destination.
Italian tourism in the Kingdom has been seeing steady growth. In just the first 6 months of 2022, around 1,500 Italians traveled to the country.
AlUla, with its archaeological wonders, remains the favorite destination for Italian tourists, followed by Riyadh and Jeddah, the historical centers of which carry obvious appeal to Italians.
“When they go back home, all Italian tourists say they were enthusiastic and incredibly surprised by Saudi Arabia,” Eleonora Bertuzzi, director of Bertel, one of the first Italian tour operators to organize trips to Saudi Arabia, beginning in 2002, told Arab News.
• In the first 6 months of 2022, about 1,500 Italians traveled to Saudi Arabia.
• In 2022, Italy was among the top 5 countries of origin for tourists who chose KSA as their holiday destination.
Bertuzzi lives in Milan and collaborates with Kel12, a tour operator in the city. However, she says she prefers to cooperate with Saudi suppliers who maintain authentic local traditions.
“Before getting there, Italian tourists expect to find an extremely closed country where nothing can be done. Instead, they see a modern and interesting country, where young people have a great desire to enjoy life and do interesting things.”
She says Italians always tell her they are “impressed” by the Saudi people, especially those “engaged in promoting heritage, trying to offer tourists new experiences, like those who have opened their homes to organize lunches and show how a middle-class Saudi family lives every day.”
Italian tourists are equally fascinated by the archaeological heritage of the Kingdom.
“AlUla is an open-air museum, and Riyadh with its antiquities is also much loved by our tourists who seek to understand the country by studying its origins,” Bertuzzi said.
“Fifty percent of Italian tourists say they want to return to Saudi Arabia. We are now studying alternative itineraries and destinations. Among these, NEOM will be very interesting,” she added.
According to Bertuzzi, there are “excellent prospects” for the growth of Italian tourism in Saudi Arabia. “At the moment, prices are still high for Italians. But we’re working on that.”
RIYADH: Visitors at Riyadh Season can tap into the spirit of adventure with Ninja Warrior KSA in the Boulevard World zone.
The interactive event lets visitors overcome obstacles and motion challenges to win the title of Ninja Warrior.
The activity, which relies on physical fitness, has been adapted from famous US TV show American “Ninja Warrior”, in which participants must put their physical prowess to the test and reach the finish line.
With an atmosphere of excitement, enthusiasm and adventure, 250 participants attempt five challenges including climbing, jumping, avoiding moving boards, trying not to fall and physical strength. The entire challenge takes about 60 minutes.
Riyadh Season includes many Arab experiences, such as Ramez and Masameer, in addition to international experiences, such as Crystal Maze in Boulevard Riyadh City, and four experiences adapted from various Netflix series in the new zone, Imagination Park.
The zone receives visitors from 3 p.m. until 11 p.m. Boulevard World tickets can be booked to enjoy the Ninja Warrior KSA experience via ticketmx.riyadhseason.sa/en/d/2430/boulevard-world.
Boulevard World is a prominent zone in Riyadh Season with 11 stations. It also includes the largest spherical theater in the world and entertainment experiences that suit all tastes.
Boulevard World brings together several fun cities including Superhero City, Japanese Anime City and Fun Zone City, the children’s entertainment area that turns imagination into reality.
Riyadh Season 2022 contains 15 diverse entertainment zones that feature everything from cable car transportation and cloud-embracing lounges to international Cirque du Soleil shows and sporting events such as WWE and the Riyadh Season Cup, which brings together the Paris Saint-Germain team with stars from Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr football clubs.
There are also 65 days of fireworks, a range of Saudi and Arab plays, concerts, local and international exhibitions, and a variety of other events for families and individuals.
RIYADH: The Riyadh Season has offered exciting opportunities with its themes of adventure, imagination, and innovation, and provided a platform to showcase creative art.
Many talented artists of all nationalities and cultural backgrounds have had opportunities to show off their skills, and place their creative crafts on display at Boulevard World.
One of them is Adam, an Italian craftsman who has exhibited rare handcrafted glass works.
Through his skill in the industry, Adam presents many items for home decoration, in addition to other products such as trays.
Adam says that the molten and colored glass he uses does not fade and can be made into different shapes and designs of various sizes.
The craftsman also shows his skills with visitors, stressing the practice is one of the oldest professions in Italy.
It has been Adam’s profession for more than 20 years, during which time he has refined his talent and gained the sufficient knowledge to excel in it.
Adam explained that in addition to glass, he uses sand and copper, which blends to get a green color, and iron to obtain derivatives of blue. He also works with gold.
Boulevard World has become a center for artists to display their work, and gives them the opportunity to explain their passion and show their prowess as they create.
Nidaa Al-Maghlouth, a pottery maker in Little Riyadh, shows visitors her skills while introducing them to the basics of her craft.
She said that making pottery requires precision, and the process goes through several stages that may take about five days.
She has worked in medical laboratories in Italy, and speaks English and Italian, but pottery combines art, pleasure, and entertainment for her.
Al-Maghlouth believes that talent alone is not enough, but rather it must be added to hard work.
She also enthusiastically encourages visitors to try their hand at creating their own artwork.
Riyadh Season 2022 has played an important role in encouraging and attracting the most diverse range of skilled local and international artists to display their crafts.
CAIRO: The art of Al-Sadu weaving attracted large crowds to the Saudi Arabia pavilion at the Bayt Al-Arab exhibition in Cairo that concluded on Wednesday.
Badriya Al-Mutairi, a participant weaving Al-Sadu at the Saudi pavilion, said that she learned the art aged five from her mother and grandmother.
“Only women practice this Bedouin craft and the first thing I learned was cleaning wool, washing it with water and hanging it to air-dry,” she said.
Al-Mutairi added: “The first stage begins with shearing goat hair, sheep wool, or camel hair, then digging up the wool by hand to clean it, wash it and hang it to dry.
“We then spin the wool and turn it into threads that are wrapped in the form of a ball called a ‘duja,’ after which the weaving process begins in which Al-Sadu threads are connected to each other.”
Today, the traditional art can be seen on modern products such as mobile phone covers, bracelets and bags.
The art of Al-Sadu has been registered in UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage. Al-Mutairi is proud that the Kingdom’s government has made tremendous efforts in preserving, sustaining and promoting Saudi culture locally and globally.
Al-Mutairi, who has accredited training certificates from the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation and the Royal Institute for Traditional Arts, has trained hundreds of young women in Al-Sadu weaving in order to preserve the art.
She also praised the efforts of the Social Development Bank in helping train young women from around the Kingdom in learning the art of Al-Sadu and showcasing the technique in international exhibitions.
Thirteen countries took part in Bayt Al-Arab, with about 150 family businesses exhibiting — 70 from Egypt and 80 from other Arab countries.
RIYADH: The Camel Club on Wednesday signed an agreement with the International Camel Organization to promote Saudi camel heritage around the world.
Bandar Al-Qahtani, Camel Club executive director, and Khalid Al-Ajmi, the ICO’s acting secretary-general inked the deal at the headquarters of King Abdulaziz Camel Festival, located 130 kilometers north Riyadh.
The Camel Club was established in 2017 by royal decree with the aim of developing the sector, promoting investment in it, and raising awareness about the Kingdom’s camel heritage. The ICO is a strategic partner in all Camel Club events.
Under the terms of the accord, the organization will become a permanent part of King Abdulaziz Camel Festival events as a local and international strategic partner.
More than 32 participants from around the world competed last week in a new beauty competition at the seventh edition of the festival, with an Iraqi winning first place with his animal.
There were 15 participants — nine from Iraq, two from Egypt, and one each from Yemen, Libya, the UK, and India — who qualified for the final round of judging.
JAZAN: The Ministry of Health has nationally recognised Jazan’s Al-Ihsan Charitable Medical Association by awarding it first prize for its outstanding initiatives in 2022 by helping more than 62,000 people in the region, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Thursday.
Mohammed bin Ismail Al-Hazimi, executive director of the association, said around 1,557 surgeries had been conducted through the Shifa program, and some 24,132 patients suffering kidney failure and hereditary blood diseases had received transportation through the Safir program.
In addition, 1,462 medical devices had been delivered to needy patients through the Sanad program, and around 27,000 people were the recipients of health education in various villages. Some 2,000 people received mammograms from a mobile clinic, while consultation services were provided to 5,607 beneficiaries.
Al-Hazimi added that the association’s health volunteering unit provided opportunities for consultants, doctors, and technicians.
He added that the number of people benefiting from the association’s services since its formation now stood at 1 million.
This figure had been celebrated by the association’s “One Million Ihsan for Jazan” slogan.
Al-Hazimi highlighted the continuing efforts of the association to achieve the highest standards of institutional excellence by upgrading its service.
He added that it sought to keep developing initiatives and become a leading model in the delivery of health services in Jazan.