2020 Dakar Rally will help to boost Saudi tourism

Published on : Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Saudi Arabia’s sports chief said Monday the controversial 2020 Dakar Rally, to be hosted by the country for the first time, will help showcase the austere kingdom’s tourism potential.

 

Organisers of the 12-day marathon through the Arabian desert, which starts on January 5, have admitted they have qualms about bringing one of motor racing’s most gruelling adventure rallies to the Gulf kingdom, which has been under fire over human rights abuses.

 

 

But Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Faisal, chairman of Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority, said the race would help spotlight attractions as the ultra-conservative kingdom opens up to international tourists amid a push to boost non-oil revenue.

 

“With the launch of the Dakar Rally here in the kingdom, the world will see the picturesque nature of our country and its wonderful desert,” Prince Abdulaziz told reporters in Qiddiya, close to the capital Riyadh.

 

“The world will come closer than ever to the people of the hospitable kingdom (that is) looking forward to welcoming the world.”

 

The 2020 Dakar will set off from Jeddah on January 5 and end 7,800 kilometres (4,800 miles) and 12 days later in Qiddiya. The race, involving more than 550 drivers from around the world, will pass through a host of sites — from NEOM, a $500 billion futuristic megacity under construction, to the heritage site of Al-Ula and the sand dunes of the vast Empty Quarter desert.

 

In September, Saudi Arabia began offering tourist visas for the first time. Kickstarting tourism is one of the centre pieces of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 reform programme to prepare the biggest Arab economy for a post-oil era.

 

But the conservative country, which forbids alcohol and is notorious for sex segregation, is seen as an unlikely destination for global tourists aside from Muslim pilgrims visiting holy sites in Mecca and Medina. The Dakar started its history as a rally between Paris and the capital of Senegal in West Africa, then switched to South America when security became a concern.

 

Organisers say it will remain in the Arabian peninsula for at least five years. Last year’s winner Nasser al-Attiyah of Qatar is among the favourites in his Toyota with Carlos Sainz and Stephane Peterhansel, a 13-time winner in bikes and cars, expected to pose a strong challenge in their Minis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

@Business Standard

(No Like Yet)

Related Posts

Tags: ,

Comments are closed.

arrow2Follow TTW
 
facebook-logo  twitter-logo  LinkedIn_logo  rss_logo 
ttw_blogger_logo  ttw_blogger_logo

ADVERTISEMENT

  • 01 WTM London 2020
  • 06 ITB Asia 2020
  • 12 ITE Hong Kong 2020
  • 13 IMEX 20
  • 16 FHC 2020
  • 16 G&A 2020
  • 16 ITB asia 2020
  • 16 TAAPE 2020
  • 17 AAA-banner 2020
  • 18 WCTIE 2020
  • 20 GWS-2020
  • 23 emitt 21
  • 30 PATA

TRAVEL INDUSTRY EVENTS

    1. Travel forward online

      July 14 @ 9:00 AM - July 28 @ 12:00 PM
    2. DRT SHOW SHANGHAI

      July 17 - July 19
    3. SHANGHAI WORLD TRAVEL FAIR (SWTF)

      July 30 - August 2
    4. IT&CM CHINA 2020

      August 3 - August 5
    5. Asia Amusement & Attractions Expo 2020

      August 4 - August 6
Get our toolbar!
Review www.travelandtourworld.com on alexa.com