Taif Souq Okaz festival to become integrated tourist destination in KSA
RIYADH: Souq Okaz in Taif will soon become an integrated tourist destination offering unique experiences to citizens and expatriates, said the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH).
Rapid development of tourist sites will be carried out via public and private sector partnerships in the Kingdom, said the SCTH director of tourism destinations, Osama Al-Khalowi.
The government has allocated SR775 million ($206.7 million) for the first phase, of which SR220 million will be allocated for SCTH projects and SR555 million for developing infrastructure, he added.
The private sector’s contribution will be SR1.3 billion. Total investments in the first phase will reach over SR2 billion.
The project comes under the National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020, he said, adding that the souq is undergoing archaeological studies and excavations after an initial survey revealed the area’s richness in important monuments.
Under the NTP 2020, one of the most important initiatives is tourism development, with a program that has designated the Fursan islands, Souq Okaz, Al-Ula city and Ras Al-Abyad beach in Madinah as tourist destinations.
SCTH President Prince Sultan bin Salman previously said the commission’s initiative to develop the souq is being carried out in coordination with Makkah governorate, Taif municipality, and its partners in the public and private sectors.
He said this is based on the historical importance of this souq as an… old Arab market abuzz with economic and cultural activities, and most importantly, it was visited by the Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him before his honored mission.
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