Riyadh shopping fest opens

Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar
Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar

Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar joins officials in an impromptu dance after inaugurating the Riyadh Shopping and Entertainment Festival 2015 on Sunday. (SPA)

Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar on Sunday opened the Riyadh Shopping and Entertainment Festival 2015.

The large attendance at the launch included tourism officials, businessmen, families and the media.

“The festival should be used as a vehicle for promoting good social values and not for only seeking entertainment per se,” the prince said.

“With the expertise of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, and Riyadh Tourism Development Board, the capital should be capable of attracting more tourists not only from the Riyadh region but also from Gulf states,” he added.

Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) Chairman Abdul Rahman Al-Zamil also addressed the event.

“We have rich entertainment and shopping activities that we hope will please them … let them have beautiful memories of Riyadh in the summer,” Al-Zamil said.

Speaking to Arab News, he said the idea behind the festival is twofold. First, to keep the capital vibrant during the summer, which is “low season.” Second, to retain what is left of its population and attract more from surrounding regions.

“The festival will help attract and entertain several million of the estimated 4.5 million visitors to the capital in the summertime.

Though a few million leave the capital for other destinations, whether in the Kingdom or abroad in the summer, they are compensated for by visitors from the surrounding regions,” he said.

“Seventy percent of these home visitors come from within a radius of 500 km of the capital while the remaining come from southern regions of the Kingdom and GCC countries, keeping the population in the capital during the summer at almost 90 percent of its usual population year round,” he pointed out.


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