- Title: Arabian nights buzz: staycations boost Saudi economy
- Date: 12th September 2021
- Summary: RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA (SEPTEMBER 9, 2021) (REUTERS) VARIOUS DRONE SHOTS OF A STREET IN RIYADH / THE ZONE STRIP MALL EXTERIOR OF THE ZONE STRIP MALL PEOPLE WALKING IN THE ZONE STRIP MALL EXTERIOR OF 'DAVID BURKE' RESTAURANT VARIOUS OF WAITER SERVING CUSTOMERS VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WAITING TO BE SERVED WAITER CUTTING CAKE FOR CUSTOMERS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN RESIDENT, ZAINAB MOHAMMED, SAYING: "It's a lovely and comfortable city (Riyadh) and what's special about it is that they brought everything from all around the world, it's what makes it unique. And nowadays if you want to go out the options are varied, we can't decide where to go, and every day we're surprised with new and better things." MOHAMMED AND HER FRIEND SITTING IN A RESTAURANT CAKE ON A PLATE (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) JORDANIAN RESIDENT, BISHER ADDASI, SAYING: "Now I don't have to travel overseas for tourism every year to get the feeling that I'm feeling here. The quality of life has greatly differed and also the quality of services offered from coffee shops, malls, streets and places that a person can visit improved by 360 degrees." VARIOUS OF PEOPLE IN 'DAVID BURKE' RESTAURANT (SOUNDBITE) (English) VICE PRESIDENT OF ELITE FOOD COMPANY, OSAMAH HUSSAIN, SAYING: "Families can enjoy a nice lunch together, nice dinner together, in a nice ambiance, in open ambiance with nice music, with nice good food, sitting together with no segregation. I think this is becoming more trendy. Investments in such sector, maybe 10 years ago, it would have been difficult, but right now I think this is what all the market is going through and is going to achieve in another 10 years from now, it will be the F&B (food and beverage) sector." WOMEN ASKING FOR A WAITER TO SERVE THEM PEOPLE SITTING IN 'DAVID BURKE' RESTAURANT WAITER SERVING CUSTOMERS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SAUDI CITIZEN, NAWAL SHINKAR, SAYING: "Honestly I'm loving where Saudi is headed right now in terms of entertainment, in terms of restaurants. Now a person doesn't need to travel abroad to Dubai or wherever because of the abundance of entertainment that we have here, we are satisfied. The hospitality industry is really growing, it's really booming here, all of the restaurants and the end brands instead of opening overseas they are coming and opening here in Saudi, so honestly, I'm loving where we're going." PEOPLE SITTING IN AN OPEN AREA OF RESTAURANT DRONE SHOT OF THE ZONE STRIP MALL
- Embargoed: 26th September 2021 10:01
- Keywords: Economy Islam Mohammed bin Salman Saudi Arabia
- Location: RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA
- City: RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA
- Country: Saudi Arabia
- Topics: Living/Lifestyle,Middle East,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA001EUEYIJ9
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: While Saudis usually escape the desert country over the summer when temperatures can reach over 50 degrees Celsius, the coronavirus pandemic has seen them flock to restaurants and cafes in the open-air mall, The Zone, bolstering Saudi Arabia's consumer sector.
Saudi Arabia in May allowed citizens to travel abroad without prior official permission after more than a year-long ban, but it still maintains a 'red list' of countries they cannot visit, so many are opting for staycations.
Private consumption grew by 1.3% in the first quarter from the same period in 2020, well above the quarterly readings before the pandemic and a drop in overseas spending is expected to keep it strong.
The value of point-of-sale transactions in the Gulf Arab state, one of the indicators of consumer spending, jumped 71.7% year-on-year in May, the popular vacation month, to 40.27 billion riyals ($10.7 billion).
Restaurants, cafes, cinemas, and hotels are full in the capital Riyadh, and new venues keep cropping up, helped by the gradual relaxation of strict rules guiding public life.
"Nowadays if you want to go out the options are varied, we can't decide where to go, and every day we're surprised with new and better things," Syrian resident, Zainab Mohammed said while dining at 'David Burke' restaurant with a group of friends.
De facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has moved to open up the conservative kingdom, where gender segregation was once firmly enforced by the religious police, in an effort to improve quality of life and attract foreign firms and talent.
Developing domestic tourism is a key ambition of the young prince, whose social and economic reforms have been accompanied by a crackdown on dissent in the absolute monarchy.
(Production: Mohammed Benmansour)
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