Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Saudi Arabia Government Launches a “Farming Tourism” Business

2 months ago

Saudi Arabia is truly leaving no stone unturned in its pursuit to become a tourism superpower. The kingdom’s latest move is to create the “Dan Company”, an organization under the sovereign wealth fund designed to promote and develop agritourism and eco-tourism.

Dan’s first project will be located in the Al Ahsa region and will cover 1.8 million square meters. It will feature an eco-resort, an agri-resort and an adventure resort, according to the Public Investment Fund (PIF).

The company is also expected to contribute approximately $1.6 billion (SAR 6 billion) to Saudi Arabia’s non-oil GDP by 2030, betting on intrepid travelers getting involved in “traditional farming experiences” in the Gulf state.

PIF’s co-head of local real estate development Khalid Johar said: “[Dan] will boost economic development and contribute to national economic growth. The company will operate novel business models that integrate sustainability and embrace nature, involving the private sector and local farmers in agritourism and ecotourism.”

The PIF is chaired by Saudi’s crown prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, and has around $700 billion in assets. As one of the world’s largest such wealth funds, PIF can finance many of the country’s ambitious tourism developments, including ski retreats, mega-yacht hubs, archipelagos and entire cities dedicated to entertainment.


Qatar Tourism Names New Chairman, Replaces Al Baker

4 months ago

The Qatari government has appointed a new chairman for its tourism arm: Saad Ali Al Kharji. Al Kharji is now chairman of Qatar Tourism, succeeding Akbar Al Baker, who yesterday announced his departure from Qatar Airways after 27 years.

Al Kharji’s appointment was confirmed in a decree by Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. It was only last July that the emir made Al Kharji the deputy chairman of Qatar Tourism, at that time under Al Baker.

Al Baker Resigns

Al Baker was CEO of a group of companies, such as Qatar Executive and Hamad International Airport. Under his stewardship, the airline, which started with just five aircraft in 1996, has grown to 258 aircraft. 

In his note to employees, Al Baker wrote: “After 27 years of service, I am writing to you to announce that I will step down from the Qatar Airways Group. In 1996, with a fleet of just five aircraft, unwavering dedication, and a loyal and passionate team, together we embarked on a remarkable journey to aviation excellence. From that very first day, our journey has been nothing short of extraordinary.”