Local community to be at the heart of Al-Ula region transformation

File photo shows Minister of Culture Prince Badr Bin Abdullah Bin Farhan.

Saudi Gazette report

Al Ula
— Minister of Culture Prince Badr Bin Abdullah Bin Farhan, governor of the Royal Commission for Al-Ula (RCU), announced five major new initiatives designed to build local skills, preserve the heritage of the site and develop modern infrastructure.

These initiatives are part of RCU’s vision for developing the region in a responsible and inclusive manner.

Prince Badr met with a group of Al-Ula community members to announce a series of plans which will ensure that everyone benefits from the region’s future development.

RCU is committed to developing an inclusive economy with the local community, which prioritizes the provision of educational and business opportunities to Al-Ula’s inhabitants in advance of opening the site to greater numbers of domestic and international visitors.

Prince Badr told the local audience: “As Citizens of Al-Ula you have the honor of being custodians of one of Saudi Arabia’s greatest ancient treasures. Everyone in Al-Ula should be an ambassador for that beauty and heritage. It is both essential that everyone shares in the benefits as this region develops and takes responsibility for its future — caring for visitors, improving the environment and preserving the unique historical endowment. Above all, at a local and national level, we share a responsibility towards our children and future generations.”

The new initiatives emphasize the fundamental role the residents of Al-Ula will play in developing and preserving one of the region’s most important sites. They include:

1. International scholarship Program: 300 new scholarship opportunities for Al-Ula students to attend renowned international universities and earn degrees in tourism, hospitality, agricultural technologies, archaeology and history.

2. Community Council: Quarterly meetings with Al-Ula community leaders to discuss local opportunities and challenges to maintain progress in Al-Ula’s development.

3. Community Heritage Action Program: Al-Ula residents will have an opportunity to play a direct role in the preservation of Al-Ula’s natural and human heritage with current projections to 2,500 part time positions over the coming year.

4. Telecommunications: RCU will work to improve connectivity in the region and expand the provision currently available today through new best-in-class partnerships.

5. Disability Rehabilitation & Support Center: A dedicated center to support people of determination and through support by international expertise, provide them opportunities to play an active role in advancing Al Ula’s growth and development. In line with Vision 2030, the announcements support RCU’s ambitions to sensitively transform the region into an international tourism destination and foster sustainable economic development.