The Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) has provided 39 shops for craftspeople in Asir. Muhammad Al-Umrah, director general of the SCTA in Asir, told Arab News recently that the shops are in the Abha Al-Jadida, Al-Salam and Al-Dalmon parks. They would start operating this summer, with an aim to boost tourism in the region. This is part of a plan to ensure that Asir becomes a tourist destination throughout the year, he said.
Al-Umrah said that the SCTA has been supporting several projects such as the Fatima Al-Zamel exhibition, held monthly in local malls in the area. He said the exhibition has attracted many producers and created revenue of SR250,000 over a 10-day period.
He said local productive families have benefitted from tourism initiatives including the National Architectural Heritage Forum, Hallat Al-Omran exhibition and other festivals and activities. There would be a special section set aside for three speakers and 10 artisans to participate in various activities, apart from the products made by the craftspeople that would be on sale, he said.
Jasser Al-Herbish, chief of the SCTA’s handicrafts program, said that the cooperation between the SCTA and the Asir Tourist Development Council has now managed to overcome the lack of sales points for producers. Al-Herbish said that the SCTA would also soon launch a new national project to market products in local malls and ensure training for youngsters to become traditional craftspeople.
He said products currently produced are of high quality but there has been a lack of marketing initiatives.