By Staff writer
Rooms at the heritage and adventure tourism site will increase to 9,400 by 2035
Saudi residents will be the first to witness the reopening of one of the world’s undiscovered wonders.
Tourism destination AlUla, which is located in the North West of Saudi Arabia and includes the kingdom’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, will reopen in October 2020.
Developed by the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU), the 250,000 year old site will welcome visitors all year round, with some attendees of its annual arts festival Winter at Tantora having already been granted access to the archaeological sites in the event’s first two years.
Visitors will be able to access the main heritage sites, cultural touring options and a range of adventure experiences.
“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,” said Phillip Jones, Chief Destination Officer, RCU.
While overnight visitors can currently choose from five accommodation providers, AlUla’s room numbers will increase to 9,400 by 2035.
Starting from October, visitors will be able to access four key heritage sites including Hegra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008; Dadan, one of the most developed 1st millennium BCE cities of the Arabian Peninsula; Jabal Ikmah, often referred to as the ‘Lihyanite library’; and Old Town, the ancient walled city of AlUla.
But experiences at the destination will extend beyond the heritage sites, and into treks and trails which will be available both guided by the local Rawi (Arabic storyteller) or self-guided.
“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 tearing around the sandscapes in a desert buggy, or taking 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 local flora and fauna, while Winter Park, an experience developed for the Winter at Tantora festival, will also make a come-back as a more permanent attraction offering a casual open-air atmosphere for food trucks and art installations.