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The annual Jeddah festival burst into life last night
 Jeddah, 14th Jun 2001

   The annual Jeddah festival burst into life last night as the six-week-long extravaganza opened with a glittering array of programs. Makkah Governor Prince Abdul Majeed presided over the opening of the event, which is expected to draw a record 2.5 million visitors to the city.

A total of 250,000 spectators were present to witness the launching ceremonies held at two different locations in the city — Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Stadium on Makkah Road and the Al-Nourus Square on the Corniche. Laser shows, fireworks and parachute jumps added color to the opening ceremony.

Jeddah Governor Prince Mishaal ibn Majed, who is the president of the festival committee, said 109 programs — 36 of them new — have been planned for the tourism festival being held for the third year in a row and is expected to generate business of more than SR2 billion. Jeddah, the main gateway to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, is one of the main tourist centers in Saudi Arabia. Every year it attracts thousands of visitors from within and outside the Kingdom.

The 110-km-long Corniche on the Red Sea is one of the city’s major attractions. There are 14 artificial lakes and 20 recreation centers. More than 120 hotels including a number of five- and three-stars, serve the annual influx of visitors.

According to Dr. Majed Al-Qasabi, secretary-general of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, many recreation centers as well as hotels, restaurants and furnished apartments will be offering up to a 50 percent discount to their visitors.

Last year the festival generated business worth SR1.769 billion. Of this, retail traders grabbed the lion’s share of SR721 million, followed by recreation centers.

According to a study conducted by a specialized office in cooperation with the research center at the chamber, foreign tourists spent the largest amount of money on the many and varied attractions and services during the festival. Most foreign visitors were from the Gulf Cooperation Council states.

The study said 52 percent of the tourists are attracted by shopping centers in Jeddah. Corniche is another major attraction as it lures 48 percent of visitors to the city to its seaside location, restaurants and parks.

Gold is being specially promoted during the festival. Unique gold coins carrying the Jeddah 22 logo are being sold to mark the event. Incentives are being offered to boost sales of gold including weekly draws (every Monday) throughout the festival during which a total of 13 kilograms of gold will be distributed as prizes to shoppers.

The first summer festival in 1999 attracted 1.2 million visitors.

Source: SPA©

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14 June 2001 06:34:29 م

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