Al-Ahsa festival expects 1.4m visitors

Saudis perform a traditional dance in Riyadh

The third Al-Ahsa shopping and entertainment festival opened with organizers estimating that it would attract 1.4 million visitors. Al-Ahsa Gov. Prince Badr bin Muhammad Al-Jalawi, chairman of the region’s Tourism Development Council, opened the event. The organizing committee has estimated that the event would make SR480 million.

The festival will take place over 22 days at local malls and commercial complexes in Al-Ahsa. The committee expects 1.4 million visitors, both residents and nonresidents, to attend the festival, a 10 percent increase from last year, reports Arab News.

Saudis perform a traditional dance in Riyadh
Saudis perform a traditional dance in Riyadh

A total of 420 companies and institutions would offer discounts and promotions throughout the event. Muhammed Al-Afaleq, general supervisor of the festival’s executive committee, said the event has boosted the region’s tourism industry. “The festival would not have been as successful without the support of Prince Badr.” Al-Afaleq said that the festival in its first year brought in much needed revenue for local hotels, furnished apartments, malls and restaurants of over SR400 million, with every person spending on average SR1,829. All of this contributed to the success of the festival and gave it a 4.1 out of 5 rating, according to the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities.

The second year of the festival reinforced the success of the previous year with 10 percent more visitors. A total of 390 companies and institutions presented many offers and discounts during 2013. Saleh Al-Afaleq, deputy chairman of the Council of Saudi Chambers, head of the Al-Ahsa Chamber, Shoura Council member and the general coordinator of the festival, said the event has been an economic boon for the region. “There are several developmental and investment projects that will be implemented in the coming months including the Al-Uqair Tourism Project. In addition, private and public sector companies will be restoring several tourism sites,” he said.

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