EP public beaches vanishing

The Al-Aziziyah beach in the Eastern Province is among several on the Gulf coast that may vanish in a few years.

The Al-Aziziyah beach in the Eastern Province is among several on the Gulf coast that may vanish in a few years.

Owners of coastal properties in the Eastern Province have been asked to invest in coastal areas to enable them to become a new tourism attraction which would allow families to benefit from the beaches.

Executive director of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities in the Eastern Province Abdulatif Al-Bunian and executive president for Al-Ahsa Company for Travel and Entertainment Abdulatif Al-Afaleq have encouraged this move by coastal property owners.

Al-Bunian encouraged investors who own locations on the beach to invest in these beaches and turn them into tourist areas, especially since they are located in strategic areas.

Al-Afaleq said beaches in general are under the management of municipalities that are required to find services and prepare suitable situations for an attractive tourist environment. He pointed to the potential of private lands through encouraging investment and tourism in general.

He said investment in Saudi Arabia faces obstacles in funding because of the absence of suitable lending mechanisms. The solution lies in setting up government funds for tourism which currently has no funding. The absence of a suitable tourism investment environment pushes local or foreign investors to refrain from investing in tourism.

Saeed Al-Hani said beaches allocated to citizens in the Eastern province had decreased during the past two decades. “It will surprise residents and visitors of the Eastern Province to know that Al-Aziziyah beaches and some strategic coastal stretches that overlook the sea will not exist in a few years, because they are private property and not tourist areas open to the public,” he said.

The matter is not limited to Al-Aziziya beach alone, which has been a popular location despite its lack of hygiene and illegal stalls. The decision includes large areas of the Half Moon beach which is under threat of extinction after the limited views of the sea because of rapid urbanization. Taas Al-Tahad and Tala are also similarly threatened.

Those who wish to see the sea in Al-Qatif can do so from the Corniche, which extends from Seihat or Darin town. Real beaches such as Tarout are being closed down to be transformed into residential schemes.

Local media conducted a field trip and talked to people on the Half Moon beach. Samir Al-Alio lamented the absence of official intervention to stop the closing down of beaches in the Eastern province. “The sea provides us with places to practice our hobbies and spend a good time. There are vast areas of desert that are closed to visitors, and people have now turned to closing down the sea,” he said.

Mubarak Al-Hajiri confirms that he knows about the siege of the sea. “Certain behaviors confirm the lack of regard for citizens’ feelings. Beaches are public properties that provide breathing space for citizens from the congestion of the city and small apartments with high prices. The sea has been seized from us, forcing us to rent spas for huge amounts of money,” he said.




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