Dammam Corniche event is latest secured by Saudi Arabia as it aims to position itself as a leading sports destination in the Middle East
Saudi Arabia will host the opening round of the UIM Formula 1 World Powerboat Championship (F1H2O) at the Dammam Corniche later this week, the latest addition to the country's plan to build an entertainment-focused economy.
Under the guidance of Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of the General Sport Authority and in cooperation with the Saudi Water Sports and Diving Federation (SWSDF), the event will kick off on March 28 and run for three days.
The event will culminate with 20 of the world’s most famous powerboat racers competing for the Grand Prix on Saturday, March 30.
Hosted by countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, the 2019 F1H2O circuits were officially unveiled in Monaco on Saturday, when it was annouced that the Gulf kingdom will host the opening round.
Dammam hosting the event comes as Saudi Arabia aims to position itself as a leading sports destination in the Middle East, in line with Saudi Vision 2030. Earlier this year, the country hosted the first Formula E race and made its debut on the European Tour golfing circuit.
The race, which features 18 drivers from 11 countries, will mark the end of the Eastern Province season, the first season of the recently-launched Saudi Seasons tourism campaign.
Al-Faisal said: "The General Sport Authority is looking to significantly augment the local sports sector with various sports, leisure and tourism activities to boost its development and sustainability and key related sectors such as leisure and tourism, as well as strengthen the Kingdom’s position as a leading destination in the Middle East for the world’s largest events."
Prince Sultan bin Fahad bin Salman, chairman of the Saudi Water Sports and Diving Federation, added: "We are proud to host the F1 Powerboat World Championship and the 11 countries who are participating in the Dammam race. It will be the perfect culmination of the Eastern Province tourism season."
Prince Sultan said the event is expected to draw more 20,000 spectators from Saudi Arabia and abroad.