A land with more than 4 seasons...
The sky turned purple for residents of Riyadh last week in anticipation of the Korean boy-band BTS's performance in the city on October 11th. This previously unimaginable moment is the launch event of "Riyadh Season". So what's this all about and what's in it for visitors to the Kingdom?
In early 2019 Saudi Arabia launched a new nationwide initiative called "Saudi Seasons". Taking in 11 regions around the country and happening throughout the year, the program aims to transform the Kingdom into a leading tourism destination globally by focusing on the long-term development of the country’s tourism offering. The core vision is to provide a unique year-round entertainment and cultural experience to visitors from around the world.
Dedicated to entertaining residents and international visitors, Saudi Seasons locations include AlUla, Riyadh, Al Sudouh, Jeddah and Eastern Province. A diverse range of environments and events is designed to appeal to fans of arts, culture, music, sports, culture and heritage, whilst showcasing and driving visitors to the country's fascinating and little known regions. The Jeddah Season, held over the summer, was a genuine success and led to a drop in the number of residents traveling out of the city during the period- a key objective of the government's strategy of creating a domestic tourism.
Each region is delegated much of the responsibility for the content of its part of Saudi Seasons to ensure that unique cultural, heritage and geographical elements cut through in the themes and experiences for visitors. For instance, the "Flower Men" of Asir played a prominent role in the Season for that region, whilst Jeddah Season made much of the amazing and historic neighborhood of Al Balad. Expect to see more of this as seasons like Taif kick-off.
As with all things Saudi tourism, infrastructure remains relatively basic for the moment outside of the major cities but the deep-rooted instinct for hospitality is present wherever you go. The rewards for the adventurous visitor are genuinely novel experiences that few have shared.