JEDDAH: Pop stars, pop-up restaurants and WWE are some of the attractions that will be part of Jeddah Season, which starts June 8 and runs until July 18.
The event caters for all interests. Music lovers can enjoy performances from Emirati singer Ahlam, Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Abdo, Egypt’s Amr Diab, Mohammed Hamaqi, Lebanon’s Nancy Ajram and Wael Jassar. For something a little different, festivalgoers can see K-Pop’s Super Junior making their musical debut in the Kingdom.
Foodies can sample world-class delights from Nobu, Zuma, Scalini, Signor Sassi and Turkish steakhouse Nusr-Et, the home of viral sensation Salt Bae. There is also a WWE event and a boxing event featuring Mike Tyson, Hollywood’s Sylvester Stallone and Amir Khan. Tyson will be giving training sessions and taking part in activities with fans.
Around 250 performers will showcase their talent on the streets in a way that is foreign to the Kingdom but has been seen across the world.
“Our message is loud and clear,” said the general supervisor of Jeddah Season, Raed Abuzinada, at a news conference on Sunday. “We’re telling the world we have everything and you no longer need to travel. Jeddah is a gateway to Makkah and Madinah, and those pilgrims remain here for a very short while. We want to broadcast a message that says: Stay longer. We want to place Jeddah on the world tourism map.”
He said the price range for all events were competitive on a regional and international level and were “at least 25 percent lower” than they were anywhere else, with instructions from King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for admission and participation to be affordable and accessible to as many people as possible.
Event organizers also hope the season will provide work opportunities. So far 175 contracts have been signed with small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and 4,900 volunteers have already signed up to help shape the festival.
Ahmad Al-Attawi, a board member of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “We focused on small initiatives and SMEs by giving them access to five main areas in Jeddah.”
Jeddah Season aims to target foreign tourists to make the most of e-visa services that were introduced following a royal order.
Prince Saud bin Abdullah bin Juwuli Al-Saud urged Jeddah residents to represent their city to the fullest. “I call on the people of Jeddah to be ambassadors for the city. I hope this season will be repeated throughout the years and I doubt it will need any assistance in future seasons.”
The seasons are an initiative from the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, the General Entertainment Authority, the General Culture Authority and the General Sports Authority.
There are 11 tourism seasons this year covering all regions of the Kingdom: the Eastern Region (Sharqiya) Season, Ramadan Season, Eid Al-Fitr Season, Jeddah Season, Ta’if Season, Eid Al-Adha Season, National Day Season, Riyadh Season, Diriyah Season, Al-Ula Season and Ha’il Season.
Sharqiya Season attracted more than 700,000 visitors over 17 days. It featured 83 events covering culture, education, entertainment and sport. It attracted international music artists such as Akon and French Montana and spanned nine cities in the province.