I read the esteemed writer Hussein Shobokshi’s suggestions in an editorial published on March 30th in this newspaper entitled, “A tourism campaign with a difference,” in which he discussed tourism in Saudi Arabia. Shoboshki put his finger on the central issue, which we are working on persistently and urgently for all members of our society to be aware of, that tourism is not merely a means for recreation. It includes several interconnected social, educational and cultural dimensions, reaching a social culture of which its effects are reflected on the individual and society at large. The culture of enjoying tourism by contributing to add value to individuals, families and society, is at the heart of the Supreme Commission for Tourism’s activities and its advertising campaigns.
Because society is a main ingredient in tourism, given that its members are the tourists and the hosts, the commission has opted to deal with this element with a new vision that reminds society of the positive behaviors that can support the social links between the people of this nation. It has launched a media campaign that includes a national message colored by the hues of tourism so that citizens can see their country and its different components. The more aware citizens become, the more they will appreciate and take pride in the numerous blessings that their country enjoys, in addition to its unique human, historical and environmental capabilities.
I am certain no one is surprised to find out that many young Saudi men and women do not know much about their beautiful country. In our opinion, such knowledge plays an important role in consolidating national cohesion and highlights the incredible accomplishment- the blessed unity- that has been achieved in this country. The Commission also set up the program “Ibtasim “(smile) directed at schoolchildren in order to educate the younger generations about tourism and introduce them to the principles and valuable practices as well as the positive behavior that they should display towards tourism, in agreement with our deep-rooted culture.
The initiatives of the Supreme Commission for Tourism will not stop at one program. Last week, it announced the creation of a fund and a program to develop villages that are rich in heritage. This reflects the Commission’s belief in the positive variety of our society. These villages are a cultural and social treasure. They also provide a rich and enjoyable source for cultural and heritage tourism and an important economic revenue, as well as acting as an incentive for young generations to learn about their country’s deep-rooted heritage. Individuals will form its main support.