Discontent about a luxurious oasis for wealthy Saudis deprived of travel abroad – Travel

Rich Saudis are basking in an artificial oasis on salmon-colored sand dunes and spending lavishly in the midst of an epidemic as the oil kingdom seeks to boost domestic tourism.

The Corona virus has impeded Saudi Arabia’s ambitions to become a new tourism and entertainment destination, to get the country, the world’s largest source of ore, out of its excessive dependence on black gold.

It is necessary to organize music festivals and sports competitions in front of a mixed audience and reopen cinemas, which have been banned for a long time. The major developments that have shaken the Saudi society in recent years.

Riyadh Oasis is located near the capital, and it is an upscale escape in the desert. It attracts the richest Saudis, who are used to spending billions of dollars abroad, with its palm-lined pools, pop-up restaurants and luxury tents. Water, Palm, Sand: The Oasis is Everything, a Saudi visitor guide surrounded by a fleet of Maserati or Bentley luxury cars, launches the exhibition “Water, Palm, Sand: The Oasis.”

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. © Getty Images

The costly entry oasis was exposed in mid-January for a period of three months, causing a thunderstorm discontent Among the less fortunate, In a country facing austerity measures, where everyone is far from rich.

“ The oasis caters to the wealthy Saudis, and targets those who were unable to reach the United States or Europe for their annual holidays.

A banker based in Riyadh.

The Gulf states, especially Saudi Arabia, are major suppliers to the wealthy and wasteful tourists in particular. According to the Dublin-based Research and Market Analysis Center, the annual tourism market from Saudi Arabia is expected to reach more than $ 43 billion by 2025.

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According to a report issued by the Saudi Central Bank, Saudi tourists spent about $ 18.7 billion abroad in 2019.

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“Encouraging domestic spending”

Saudi Arabia extendedForeign travel ban for its citizens until May 17, Due to the delay in the arrival of vaccines against the Corona virus, according to the government.

This decision also helps stimulate spending in the local economy. Official data in recent months have shown a sharp rise in domestic tourism and hotel reservations.

However, a survey conducted by the Traveler Tourism Company this month indicates that 80% of Saudis plan to travel abroad within six months of the travel restrictions being lifted.

This “only for the rich” can backfire.

The kingdom is building a hundreds of billions of dollars’ Walt Disney-style theme park called Qiddiya, as well as a luxurious Maldivian-style resort along the Red Sea.

Qiddiya
. © Qiddiya

“These developments should encourage more domestic spending,” said a 2019 report by the international consulting firm McKinsey. “Currently, more than 50% of Saudi spending on leisure and entertainment is carried out outside the kingdom, with categories such as luxury approaching 70%,” he adds.

‘For the rich only’

In the oasis near Riyadh, you have to pay about 13,000 riyals (roughly 3,000 euros) for a night in the “glamp” tent (diminishing the words “glamor” and “camping”).

A Saudi media employee told France Press, who asked not to be identified, in a country famous for its intolerance of freedom of expression: “The ‘glamps’ program has cost me nearly a month of my salary. They are targeting the cream of the crop, the richest 1%.”

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Adel Al-Rajab, managing director of Seven Experience, which stands behind the oasis, admitted that it does not “target everyone.” “Don’t expect the masses to go to five or six-star hotels,” he told AFP.

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“This approach (for the wealthy only) may backfire,” a Western Gulf official told AFP. He said the kingdom “will have to strike a balance between the higher prices and the wider involvement of the Saudis.”

The Corona virus has impeded Saudi Arabia’s ambitions to become a new tourism and entertainment destination, to drive the country, the largest source of ore in the world, from its excessive dependence on black gold, and sports competitions in front of a mixed audience and the reopening of cinemas, which have been banned for a long time, are major innovations. That shook Saudi society in recent years. Oasis Riyadh, located near the capital, serves as a place for upscale retirement in the desert. It attracts the richest Saudis, who are used to spending billions of dollars abroad, with its palm-lined pools, pop-up restaurants and luxury tents. The launch of “Water, Palms, Sands: The Oasis is Everything”, a Saudi guide for visitors, surrounded by a fleet of luxury Maserati or Bentley cars, unveiled in mid-January for a three-season season, but the costly entry oasis has angered those who are less fortunate in a country Facing austerity measures, all of them are far from the affluent, and Arabia is the main suppliers to the wealthy and wasteful tourists in particular. According to the Dublin-based Research and Market Analysis Center, the annual tourism market from Saudi Arabia is expected to reach more than $ 43 billion by 2025. Saudi tourists abroad spent about $ 18.7 billion in 2019, according to a report by Saudi Arabia that extended the ban. According to the government, its citizens are required to travel abroad until May 17, due to the late arrival of Coronavirus vaccines, and this decision also helps stimulate spending in the local economy. Official data in recent months have shown a rise in domestic tourism and hotel reservations, however, a survey conducted by the Traveler Tourism Company this month estimates that 80% of Saudis plan to travel abroad within six months of the travel restrictions being lifted. Hundreds of billions of dollars is a Walt Disney-style theme park called Qiddiya, as well as a luxurious Maldives-like resort along the Red Sea. “These developments should encourage more domestic spending,” said a 2019 report by the international consulting firm McKinsey. “Currently, more than 50% of Saudi spending on leisure and entertainment takes place outside the kingdom, with categories like luxury close to 70%,” he adds. From Riyadh, you have to pay about 13,000 riyals (roughly 3,000 euros) for one night in a “glamp” (minus the words “glamor” and “camping”). A Saudi media employee told France Press, who asked not to be identified, in a country notorious for its intolerance of freedom of expression: “The ‘glamps’ program has cost me nearly a month of my salary. Ragab, the managing director of Seven Experience, a company behind Oasis, admitted that it “doesn’t target everyone.” “Don’t expect the masses to go to five or six-star hotels,” he told AFP. “This approach (for the wealthy only) may backfire,” a Western Gulf official told AFP. He said the kingdom “will have to strike a balance between the higher prices and the wider involvement of the Saudis.”

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