AlUla sets the stage for the next big tourism boom

AlUla is a rich destination of human and natural heritage with over 200,000 years of history. It is home to ancient riches such as the Nabataean city of Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage site, and the Dadanite and Lihyanite Kingdoms’ tombs.

It also houses the city’s most iconic landmark, the Tantora, or sundial, which is utilised by residents of the old town to signal the start of the 40-day winter growing season. It is the inspiration for the Tantora Winter Festival.

Following the success of Winter at Tantora, which ended in February 2022, Amr AlMadani, CEO of the Royal Commission of AlUla, said that the destination will be open all year and assist raise tourist numbers.

According to the CEO, the city is laying the groundwork for 250,000 tourists and visitors in 2023.

AlMadani told Arab News in an exclusive interview that the commission has already tested the potential of AlUla with the introduction of Winter at Tantora.

This historically significant holiday season has always been full with festivities. The community has always been proud of its long-standing traditions, which they continue to resuscitate year after year.

The event began again on December 22, 2022, and will continue through January 21, 2023. It includes a variety of equestrian activities, such as the Ikmah Fashion Cavalry, a new haute couture event for horses, the competitive Fursan Endurance Race Cup, and AlUla Desert Polo.

The historic oasis city also made a fortune from its beautiful splendour last February when it staged a four-day event celebrating the region’s homegrown citrus delights and the breathtaking view of AlUla from the summit of the Harrat Uwayrid.

While the heritage sites hosted cultural and archaeological seminars, the old town and oasis hosted historical performances.

Wherever there is beauty, there must be art. So, on February 13, the city launched the first AlUla Arts Festival, which featured a dazzling array of well chosen exhibitions and massive outdoor installations by a variety of local and international artists.

The arts festival ignited the winter’s excitement and led the festivities through the end of March.

Many foreign and Arab musicians performed in the Maraya Concert Hall in AlUla, including British singer Seal, Canadian comedian Russell Peters, worldwide singer-songwriter and viral internet sensation Naika, and Iraqi vocalist Rahma Riad.

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