Could Saudi Arabia be the New Petra?
The conservative country is pushing archaeological tourism
Sarah Ben Romdane
Across the Arab world, a handful of super-popular destinations have become the go-to getaways for global travellers (namely Marrakesh, Sharm El Sheikh or Dubai). But it look as though Saudi Arabia could be the next ‘it’ destination.
Currently, the kingdom is closed to foreign tourism, apart from Hajj pilgrims. But as HRH Crown Prince Bin Salman reforms the country, he shared plans to develop the archaeological desert site of Al-Ula, in the North of the country, and opening it to international tourists.
The site of Al-Ula includes remains from different eras – and even signs of existence of savannah animals, from long-before climate change transformed the desolate area in to an arid desert.
Experts and archaeologists say this site could be the “new” Petra, as it holds as-yet undiscovered breath-taking landscapes.
Policy makers are currently working on building access roads, transport hubs and hotels, in the hopes of making Al-Una the region’s new luxury resort destination. For the first time, the conservative kingdom is committed to welcoming foreigners. Although sadly, women under 25 will most likely have to be accompanied.