DUBAI: National carrier Saudi Airlines (Saudia) is inaugurating on Jan. 27 direct flights from Paris to the historic oasis of AlUla as the Kingdom seeks more avenues to promote the UNESCO heritage site.

The new air route provides a unique opportunity for French travellers and travellers from neighboring countries to be among the first explorers to visit this extraordinary region, a statement said.

Regular flights will depart from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport every Sunday from Jan. 30 until Mar. 27 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft that would be deployed would land at AlUla after five hours, it added.

Phillip Jones, Chief Destination Management and Marketing Officer said: “The French are intrepid travellers, always keen to be the first to experience the new. We … hope that many Europeans will take the opportunity to visit our heritage sites and perhaps take in some of our winter events as the flights will run till March 27.”

The winter events season at AlUla features four major festivals on offer until the end of March: Winter at Tantora, AlUla Arts, AlUla Skies and AlUla Wellness.

“This is our first international direct flight to AlUla and we believe one of many as more of our guests around the world are showing an eagerness to explore our country’s history and culture,” Hazem Sonbol, Passenger Sales Vice President of Saudia, said in the statement.

Gérard Mestrallet, Executive President of AFALULA, meanwhile said: “Since the intergovernmental agreement signed by Saudi Arabia and France in April 2018 on AlUla sustainable development, the collaboration between the Saudi and French economic and cultural ecosystems, led by the Royal Commission for AlUla and AFALULA, has proven to be increasingly intense and fruitful.

“Following the access, since September 2019, to tourist visas for Saudi Arabia, the opening of a direct air route from Paris will bolster the attractiveness of this unique cultural destination.”

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