Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- The next destination for the “Harley Group” of Saudi Arabia will be the Republic of Ireland adding to its list of visits including Sharqiya, Jeddah, and Abha and Al Quassim in Saudi Arabia, the kingdom of Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. It will be the first Gulf and Arab trip of its kind.
Presently, Amar Al Khalidi, who is responsible for the activities of the group in Saudi Arabia, is preparing for the trip to the Republic of Ireland. They will travel a distance of 1700 kilometers inside Saudi Arabia passing the kingdom’s prominent tourist locations of Al Quassim and the holy city of Mecca. Al Khalidi explained that the trip would be divided into two stages: inside and outside of Saudi Arabia. The voyage will begin 30 May 2006 from the Intercontinental Hotel in Riyadh and for four days, the group will visit a number of sites in Buraidah and Madain Salah in Saudi Arabia before moving on to Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, and Great Britain to reach the final destination, the Republic of Ireland.
Al Khalidi, 42 years old, is married with two sons and three daughters and has a bachelors degree in electronic engineering. He highlighted that the majority of the group of Harley owners would take part in the trip. There are 150 members of the group that come from a range of backgrounds, representing various nationalities and spectrums of society. The group includes doctors, engineers, accountants, lawyers, businessmen and employers of both the public and the private sector. The average amongst them is forty years old.
Captain Marwan Motlaq of the Harley Group believes that riding a motorbike is both a sport and tourism at the same time as it gives the participants the joy of crossing the natural landscapes. Motlaq suggests that in cooperation with the supreme authority for tourism, the employment of motorcyclists for tourism should be introduced. He adds that the group aims to raise awareness amongst members concerning the necessary preparation for the motorcycles and safety and maintenance. Before embarking on the journey, it is important to check the components of the motorbike such as oil, wheels, belts, breaks, hydraulics, front lights, break lights, mirrors and the battery.
Sofian Al-Qabani, a member of the Harley Group in Saudi Arabia is hoping that he will visit Madain Salah and Asir on his motorbike after he had been given the opportunity to participate in motorbike trips to and around Riyadh and in areas such as Al Thamama, Al Amiriya, Dirab, Al Diraiya and Al Azariya. Al Qabani believes that it is very important to provide excellent services to tourists in hotels, restaurants, at tourist sites and through activities and that it is important to prepare those who work in the tourism sector and investors.
Jerome Lawrence Park, a Canadian citizen and a member of the Harley Group, believes that Saudi Arabia has many strong points in tourism especially culturally and environmentally. He said, “Our last trip to Al Quassim was an enriching cultural experience. We visited some farms and the Bayt Al Bassam museum in Onaiza and the youth hostel. I will always remember the kindness of the friendly Saudi people. Previously, I went on a number of diving trips in Yanbo in the Red Sea as I have attained a diving certificate from PADI diving school. My family and I camped in the on the coast of Al Aqeer.” Park added that the diversity of some cultural and natural sites in Saudi Arabia is something the group would like to see, however, these sites lack the requires facilities such as rest houses, restaurants and hotels.
William Answorth, another member of the Harley Group had traveled on his motorbike to a number of European, Asian and South American countries. He suggests that information should be available in the English language on important locations, and historical events of Saudi Arabia, such as Al Daraiya and where the battles of King Abdul Aziz to unite Saudi Arabia took place. He adds that traveling on motorcycles is a good way to visit tourist attractions as long as the necessary information is available in the English language.
Harley Davidson, one of the most famous motorbike companies in the world produced 329,000 motorbikes in 2005 compared to 217,000 in 2004. The company is also famous for its long waiting lists of customers who want to purchase one of the popular Harley motorbikes.