Qatar Airways yesterday [11 January 2024] launched its inaugural journey to AlUla, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, from Doha, marking the airline’s commitment to providing unparalleled travel experiences across over 170 destinations worldwide. The trip showcased AlUla as a new and exciting destination, offering travellers a unique blend of history, culture, and luxury.
The VIP delegation included His Excellency Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, Minister of Culture of the State of Qatar who attended the inaugural flight, His Highness Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud, Minister of Culture of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Officer, Engr. Badr Mohammed Al-Meer, Acting Chief Executive Officer Royal Commission for AlUla, Abeer Al Akel, and Phillip Jones Chief Tourism Officer, Royal Commission for AlUla.
The VIP delegation started the itinerary with a visit to the heart of the city’s Old Town. The tour showcased the revitalised Old Town, a historical gem with ancient traditional architecture revamped with a modern touch.
The journey continued with an exploration of various sites, highlighting a synergy of modernity and history, notably a visit to the sustainable and biodiverse district, Oasis, as well as to multiple publishing houses, providing a deeper understanding of the local culture and its affinity to literature.
The pinnacle of the trip was the significant visit to the Kingdom’s first UNESCO Heritage Site, Hegra, where His Highness Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud, Minister of Culture of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, received the VIP delegation for a photo opportunity which included a remarkable backdrop of the Tomb of Lihyan Son of Kuza.
Qatar Airways hosted an outdoor lunch at one of AlUla’s most sought-after luxury desert resorts, Our Habitas AlUla. The mix of natural landscape and luxury provided the airline’s VIP guests with a unique and unforgettable experience, while indulging in delectable Arabic cuisine. Qatar Airways added a touch of its signature excellence to the luncheon by complementing the gathering with Qatari cultural performers presenting an authentic traditional experience.
Minister of Culture of the State of Qatar, H.E. Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Hamad bin Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, highlighted that this inauguration is a testament to the success of the Culture, Tourism, and Entertainment Committee of the Qatari-Saudi Coordination Council. H.E. additionally expressed his appreciation for the contributions of H.H. Minister of Culture of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud, in making this achievement a reality.
Furthermore, H.E. emphasised the importance of investing in archaeological sites and developing their accessibility to enable the exploration of the rich cultural heritage of AlUla. Underlining heritage protection and preservation as one of the most important goals of cultural work, H.E. further elaborated on the ability of historical and heritage landmarks to attract people from the region and around the world, recognising the impact these sites have due to their cultural diversity, thus presenting a positive image for cultural dialogue. H.E. also expressed his pride in the Qatari-Saudi relations, which are strengthened by culture, affirming the fundamental role culture plays in consolidating the ties between the intellectuals of the State of Qatar and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Operating two weekly flights to AlUla, Qatar Airways brings the total number destinations to Saudi Arabia to 10, including 125 weekly flights across AlUla, Dammam, Gassim, Jeddah, Medina, NEOM, Riyadh, Tabuk, Taif, and Yanbu.