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Saudi's Ministry of Culture meets UNESCO as heritage push grows

Saudi's Ministry of Culture meets UNESCO as heritage push grows

Saudi Arabia wants to more than double the number of UNESCO heritage projects under its Vision 2030 strategy

Al-Hijr is an archaeological site that Saudi Arabia hopes to open up to global travellers.
Al-Hijr is an archaeological site that Saudi Arabia hopes to open up to global travellers.

Senior figures from Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Culture and executives from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) have met in Riyadh to discuss the kingdom's ambitious plan to become a cultural heritage hotspot.

Saudi Arabia is already working on plans to transform the ancient region of Al-Ula into an eco-tourism destination, and has already built a dazzling mirror-clad concert hall called Maraya.

The country is working on heritage development projects spanning areas such as antiquities, museums, and urban heritage, as Crown Prince HRH Mohammed bin Salman looks to build a tourism economy in Saudi Arabia.

Culture and heritage is a major aspect of the Crown Prince's plan to attract millions of people to Saudi Arabia. How this could be achieved was a main talking point at the meeting between UNESCO and the Saudi government this month.

According to the state-run Saudi Press Agency, “cultural and civilisational” issues related to how the government ministry and UNESCO could work together on heritage developments was top of the list.

Outcomes from the meeting have not been revealed. But maximising Saudi Arabia's rich cultural heritage is underpinned by its Vision 2030 strategy for social and economic transformation. Under this plan, the kingdom wants to more than double the number of Saudi heritage sites registered with UNESCO.

This is likely to spark a rise in the number of projects for the Middle East's burgeoning interior design industry, experts have ruled.

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