Royal Commission for Al-Ula hosts first workshop for Tour Operators

Riyadh, The Royal Commission for Al-Ula (RCU) has held recently a constructive day of discussion and engagement with over 30 local and national tour operators in Al-Ula, introducing participants to the Commission and its mandate to deliver the responsible development of tourism for the Al-Ula region. The one day workshop was hosted by Olof Yrr, RCU's Chief Destination Management and Officer (DMMO) and featured a special guest speaker, Dr Simon Milne, Professor of Tourism and Director of the New Zealand Tourism Research Institute in Auckland.

The workshop was the first event held by RCU with an invited group of the Kingdom's tourism businesses. The aim is to establish a community for sharing views and opinions and initiate a framework for a constructive exchange of views and knowledge that will, in the future, support the growth of the tourism ecosystem in Al-Ula and ultimately attract a broad range of national and international visitors to the region. Workshop participants were given the opportunity to engage with and discuss the impact of RCU's current preservation and development activity which has seen three of the sites temporary closed to the public, due to reopen in 2020.

Guest speaker, Simon Milne delivered a session on responsible management of tourism and the importance of stakeholder engagement and participation in addressing the issues that can challenge the positive development of tourism within destinations. Simon's specialist research over the last 30 years has focused on the relationship between tourism and sustainable economic development with a particular interest in linking heritage and culture with visitor experience, business performance and sustainable community development.

Within the subsequent workshop, participants addressed pressing issues concerning the future development of Al Ula as a tourist destination and the impact of current activities on their businesses. A framework for consultation, engagement and constructive feedback was initiated, in which knowledge and insight will be shared about Al-Ula as a destination. Through such kinds of consultation, RCU aims to prepare Al-Ula and its people for a renewed era of economic growth, ensuring that the development of the region brings with it positive change, exemplified through an increase in opportunities and prosperity for the local community.

RCU's long term vision for Al-Ula is to initiate and drive the evolution of Al-Ula into a leading international destination for cultural and natural experiences, adventure and wellness.

Commenting on the day, Olof Yrr said: We were delighted to meet with a number of local tour operators today, hear their first hand experiences and provide some insights into how to approach the current and future tourism market in Al-Ula. RCU is committed to deliver a responsible development of Al-Ula and our guest speaker Simon Milne provided vital global industry context for how we will look to achieve this. In the long-term, the Commission aims to facilitate the growth of a thriving private enterprise sector in Al-Ula. Today was the first step in this journey.

Source: Saudi Press Agency