Excerpts: Saudi Inflation hits 27-year high.Competition for Arab
tourists.Lebanon’s new government 25 May 2008
SAUDI GAZETTE 25 May ’08:”Saudi Inflation hits 27-year high”
RIYADH – Annual inflation in Saudi Arabia accelerated to at least a 27-year
high of 10.5 percent last month from 9.6 percent the previous month, fuelled
by rents and food prices in the world’s largest oil exporter.[IMRA: At its
highest price ever, is it time for oil income to be shared with citizens?].
+++ARAB NEWS(Saudi)25 May ’08:”Tourism Officials Want Saudis to Stay Home
the Holidays”Sarah Abdullah
QUOTE:”4.5 million Saudi tourists
an estimated SR 70 billion ($20 billion) in 2007 on tourism
abroad”..”competing destinations such as Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and
JEDDAH, :With the beginning of the 90-day summer break only a month away,
the assistant deputy secretary-general for marketing for the Saudi General
Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SGCTA), Fahad Al-Jarboa, says that
the prime goal of the commission is to target the Saudi domestic market and
try to encourage more Saudis to vacation in the Kingdom this year.
“We choose to focus first and foremost on the local market for the obvious
reason that Saudis, in particular families, have been targeted by competing
destinations, such as Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain,”
. . .
According to reports, 4.5 million Saudi tourists spent an estimated SR70
billion in 2007 on tourism abroad, a 40 percent increase from the previous
year. Saudi tourists spent SR153 million in the UAE and SR50 million in
Bahrain last year. This is money that Saudi tourism officials would like to
see spent in the Kingdom.
According to Al-Jarboa, the number of domestic tourist trips currently
stands at 27-30 million annually and the SGCTA targets a minimum 5 percent
growth every year. Inbound traffic, which includes Haj and Umrah pilgrims,
stood at 9.8 million.
Officials also aim to promote tourism to the Kingdom in neighboring
countries of Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the UAE and Oman.
“Our focus is primarily on family oriented tourism and our aim is to make
Saudi Arabia inviting for couples and families who are seeking an authentic
tourism experience within a social atmosphere that preserves traditional
Islamic and Arab values and promotes family ties,” Al-Jarboa explained.
. . . a 16-year-old Saudi who travels to Spain each year (said)”.
“There is nothing in Saudi Arabia that is enticing enough to get Saudis to
forget traveling and stay in the country during the summer break,… No
cinemas, no big-name theme parks; only shopping malls, many of which can be
found abroad with the same or newer merchandise that is not available here.
I think the SGCTA should try to think also about what the young population
would enjoy if they really want to keep Saudis home this summer.”
+++ARAB NEWS (Saudi) 24 May ’08:”Saad Hariri Tipped to Become Lebanon’s PM”
QUOTE: Suleiman …saying that( when elected president) he would work to
preserve democracy and Lebanon’s government institutions”
BEIRUT” Saad Hariri, head of the majority in the Lebanese Parliament, was
tipped yesterday to become the next prime minister after the election of
army commander Michel Suleiman as president.
Former President Amin Gemayel nominated Hariri to take over from Fouad
Siniora. “Since he is the head of the largest parliamentary bloc it’s only
normal that he (Hariri) becomes the prime minister,” . . . Hezbollah and
the Amal movement of Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri were inclined toward
nominating Hariri in a bid to defuse the sectarian tensions that almost
brought the country to the brink of civil war. Saad Hariri is the son of the
late Premier Rafik Hariri, who was assassinated in 2005 in a bomb blast in
Beirut. . . .After the president is elected, the government will stay on
in a caretaker capacity until a new premier is chosen, following
consultations between the new president and legislators.Suleiman …was
quoted…as saying that he would work to preserve democracy and Lebanon’s
Sue Lerner -Associate, IMRA
IMRA – Independent Media Review and Analysis