In the heart of the volcanic Harrat Khaybar, northeast AL Madinah AL MunawwarahAbu Al Wael Cave, the longest cave in… Saudi Arabia Of basalt, which was recently approved as a geological tourist destination in the Kingdom.
Abu Al Wael Cave is an ideal destination for nature lovers, as it is distinguished by its wonderful rock formations and picturesque nature. The cave extends for 5 kilometers and includes many corridors, tunnels and rooms, which can be explored on foot or using mountain bikes.
The adoption of Abu Al-Iel Cave as a new tourist destination in Saudi Arabia is an important step in promoting eco-tourism in the Kingdom, which has great potential in this field. Saudi Arabia has many distinctive natural sites, such as mountains, deserts, and coasts, which provide various opportunities for eco-tourism.
The most prominent examples of the natural sites that characterize Saudi Arabia and provide various opportunities for eco-tourism are the Asir Mountains, known for their rugged mountainous terrain and deep valleys, and the Rub’ al-Khali desert, which is the largest sandy desert in the world and has many rare wild animals, in addition to the Red Sea coasts that… It is distinguished by its beaches.
The Kingdom aims to raise the contribution of the tourism sector to the gross domestic product to 10%, as well as achieving 100 million visits by 2030, making the Kingdom among the top 5 countries that receive tourists in the world.
Growth of the tourism sector
In recent years, the Saudi tourism sector has witnessed remarkable development. According to available numbers and indicators, the number of visitors arriving to the Kingdom has increased significantly, and great efforts have been directed to developing the tourism infrastructure in the Kingdom, expanding tourism offers and improving the services provided to visitors.
Last month, the Ministry of Tourism announced that the total number of tourists during the first half of 2023 had reached 53.6 million tourists, with 14.6 million expatriates and 39 million local tourists, showing a growth in the number of incoming visitors in the country by 142%.
In the preliminary data of tourism statistics that it issued for the first half of 2023, the Ministry indicated that total tourism spending in Saudi Arabia had reached 150 billion riyals ($40 billion), with 86.9 billion riyals from incoming tourism, and 63.1 billion riyals from local tourism, during The same period, confirming an increase in local tourism spending by 16%, as well as an increase in the rate of tourism spending by expatriates by 132%.
Tourism contributes significantly to the Kingdom’s gross domestic product, as the volume of tourism spending in 2019 reached about 193 billion riyals ($51 billion), an increase of 4.4% over 2018. Tourism also provides job opportunities for many Saudis, as the number of workers in The tourism sector in 2019 employed about 600,000 workers, an increase of 6.6% over 2018.
Ecotourism is one of the main sectors targeted by the Saudi government as part of its efforts to enhance tourism in the Kingdom, by establishing many new ecotourism destinations and providing the necessary infrastructure to practice ecotourism activities.
Adopting Abu Al Wael Cave as a new tourist destination in Saudi Arabia is an important step in achieving these goals, as the cave can contribute to attracting more tourists to the Kingdom, especially nature lovers. It can also contribute to developing the local economy in the region, as it will provide new opportunities. For work and commercial activities.
Saudi Arabia works to promote eco-tourism and take advantage of its abundant natural resources. It also seeks to develop cultural and historical tourism to attract visitors from all over the world.
An international tourist destination
Saudi Arabia is also working to develop these natural and cultural resources and make them available to local and international visitors, through the implementation of huge projects such as the Red Sea Project, NEOM Project, Qiddiya Project, Amala Project, Al-Ula Project, and others.
Commenting on the adoption of Abu Al-Wail Cave as a new tourist destination in Saudi Arabia, Saudi economic expert Fahd bin Furaihan said that this reflects the Kingdom’s vision aimed at diversifying sources of income and developing the tourism sector, considering that this step also reflects Saudi Arabia’s commitment to marketing its unique natural and cultural resources, and strengthens its position as a global tourist destination. .
In an interview with Al Jazeera Net, Bin Freihan stressed the importance of eco-tourism in Saudi Arabia, “especially since the Kingdom has tremendous potential in this field,” pointing out that the picturesque nature and environmental diversity that the Kingdom enjoys provide unique opportunities for developing and sustaining eco-tourism.
He pointed out that this type of tourism attracts a specific category of tourists interested in natural reserves, exploration and environmental experience, stressing that developing the tourism sector in Saudi Arabia and promoting eco-tourism will contribute significantly to strengthening the local economy.
In addition to providing new job opportunities and stimulating investment, many expected economic results will be achieved, such as increasing tourism revenues and improving the balance of payments.
Bin Freihan stated that developing eco-tourism in Saudi Arabia will enhance environmental awareness and protect the country’s natural wealth, as these efforts will contribute to promoting sustainable development and maintaining environmental balance, which will benefit current and future generations.
The Saudi economic expert stressed that ecotourism is a future sector and a profitable field for investment, explaining that by exploiting the great potential available, the Kingdom can attract more tourists and provide sustainable economic opportunities and community development in tourist areas.
Bin Freihan pointed out that investing in ecotourism is a golden opportunity for Saudi Arabia to achieve sustainable development and economic diversification.