Souk Okaz City project… The first integrated cultural tourist destination in Taif
aTP- Arab tourism portal News – SCTH is working on Souk Okaz City development project in Taif which falls under the initiatives of SCTH in the National Transformation Program (NTP), that was approved by the Cabinet recently, for developing a number of tourism destinations.
For the development of the first phase of the project, NTP has allocated SR 775 million, of which SR 220 million is to establish SCTH’s projects, and SR 555 million for establishing the site’s inside and outside infrastructure. Private sector will contribute with around SR 1291 million for other development projects, and accordingly the total of expected investments in the first phase will reach SR 2 billion.
The project is expected to attract over 260,000 tourists annually and contribute to "GDP" with SR 294 million, besides creating more than 4400 jobs and build around 1250 hotel rooms and 130 furnished apartments.
Through this project, SCTH seeks to develop the first ever and integrated cultural tourism destination in Taif municipality in order to attract local visitors from different income levels in addition to attracting GCC tourists, religious purposes visitors, business tourism visitors and students.
SCTH aims to transform Okaz City into a business center in Taif’s new city, as well as facilitate access to the area through Taif’s new airport as a second gateway to Makkah besides providing new entertainment choices in Taif municipality in light of its importance and position as a historic resort in the Kingdom.
Okaz City will provide a range of facilities and advantages that are expected to make it a cultural center of attraction, and a destination for business and leisure and hospitality, as well as an attractive destination for visitors all the year round.
The first phase of the project will see the establishment of a business center for organizing business events, such as conferences, besides establishing high quality facilities such as hotels, recreational clubs for events, interactive museum and art galleries, Botanical Garden, Craft Center, a library courtyard, heritage and cultural OASIS and Equestrian clubs, establishing a Royal Academy of Arabic poetry for continuing education through cultural and intellectual activities, shows, festivals and events, poetry and plays around the year to attract students from outside and inside the Kingdom.
Noteworthy, Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, President of SCTH, following the opening ceremony of Souk Okaz Festival 2016, said “The approval of Souk Okaz city by NTP is an extension to SCTH efforts in the rehabilitation and development of this site."
“The initiative of SCTH for developing Souk Okaz City in partnership with the Makkah governorate and its partners in both the public and private sectors, reflects the historical importance of Souk Okaz as one of the important ancient Arabic Souks, and that its name was associated with the ancient Arabic cultural and economic activities, and for having been visited by the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) before his mission (before receiving the message of Islam).”
“Okaz City projects will include the establishment of an Academy for Arabic poetry, an interactive museum, developing Okaz Avenue, inventing the “Avenue of the Future” in order to complete the ancient dimension of the souk as a venue for new ideas and products, in addition to setting up an Eco-camp”.
“SCTH seeks to engage the private sector in all its projects, including the public sector. So the preparations are under way to offer several investment portfolios to the private sector in order to implement a number of projects in the City, including the establishment of tourism accommodation facilities (heritage hotels, furnished apartments, eco-camps and inns),” HRH added.