26 June 2015
RIYADH: The Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities
) is making a concerted effort to diversify and fully develop agri-tourism in the Kingdom in collaboration and coordination with its partners including the Ministries of Interior, Municipal and Rural Affairs, and Agriculture, and the Agricultural Development Fund
. Moreover, the chief tourism body is also coordinating with related organizations in the private sector to benefit farmers in the Kingdom as well as tourists, an SCTA spokesman said on Thursday. According to the official, agri-tourism involves agriculture-based operations or activities that bring visitors to a farm or ranch, and is a niche tourism product that is considered a growth industry in many parts of the world.
One of the major themes in the SCTA's strategies is its effort to diversify and develop tourism products in the Kingdom. "It enjoys a considerable tourism potential and represents a fertile environment for future development and investment in the Kingdom," he noted. He further pointed that the initiative aims at contributing to the development of tourism activities, programs and products on agricultural farms, creating elements of entertainment, enjoyment and education for the tourist. "We believe this will revive tourism activity, and create additional income and employment for Saudi youths," the spokesman observed. He added that the initiative will lead to a diversity of national tourism destinations that can be visited by tourists during different periods of time throughout the year.
Moreover, it is also expected to meet the increasing need to create new employment opportunities for local community members in rural areas and improve their living standards. Furthermore, agri-tourism will also contribute to strengthening coherence between city dwellers and residents of rural areas by introducing the homeland's potentials and accomplishments in different areas, culturally, socially and educationally. Agri-tourism will not bring any change in the established agricultural activity, but will instead offer an additional activity through which farmers can receive visitors on their farms, and offer useful and interesting programs and activities. SCTA recently granted agri-tourism membership licenses to a number of farm owners in Riyadh province to develop agri-tourism in the region.
© Arab News 2015