JEDDAH — Festivals play a major role in uplifting industry and raising hotel occupancy rates. The Jeddah Summer Festival under the theme "Flying Carpet" which began during the commencement of Ramadan activities at the Jeddah International Centre for Forums and Events, and several similar events taking place in Jeddah and across Saudi Arabia, reflect the status of tourism as a leading industry in the Kingdom.
The Jeddah Summer Festival is being held under the patronage and sponsorship of Princess Hessa Bint Trad Al-Shaalan, wife of King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.
Most travel companies are supporting the industry and the local market by offering special Ramadan and Eid offers and packages.
Ziyad Bin Mahfouz, President, Elaf Group of Companies, said "although Muslims typically stay at home for Ramadan, this year’s pilgrims will be able to perform their Umrah rituals and achieve their spiritual goals while exploring tourism in the Kingdom via the Jeddah Summer Festival, which they are sure to appreciate. Saudi Arabia has launched a tourism campaign to open up the Kingdom to non-religious visitors as well, so we expect to achieve an increase of between 20 and 25 percent in our hotel occupancy rates, compared to the same period last year."
There are various Ramadan attractions available for tourists to have a pleasant and personal Ramadan experience in Saudi Arabia. Given the large expatriate population, particularly in the large cities, various forms of cultural expression are manifested: the sight of young men handing out small packets of food at traffic signals for those who may be late for breaking the fast; the opportunity to say taraweeh prayers behind imams with extraordinary voices; Ramadan tents adjacent to masajid that distribute free meals; and the opportunity to perform Umrah are just a few things that can be experienced in the Kingdom during the holy month. Saudi Arabia offers its visitors truly unforgettable Ramadan memories. — SG