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
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.
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
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
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.
first summer festival in 1999 attracted 1.2 million visitors.