UNWTO lauds Saudi law to protect heritage
The Kingdom recently joined the selected league of countries to set up a system for the monuments and became one of the first Arab countries to set up a monuments system.
Welcoming the Kingdom’s new legislation to protect antiquities and heritage as well as to give the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) the mandate to ensure its preservation, UNWTO in a statement said: “Heritage conservation is fundamental to safeguard cultural legacy and promote and preserve key tourism assets, which are central to differentiating destinations all around the world.”
Applauding the issuance of the new system of monuments, museums and architectural heritage, which was issued by the Saudi Council of Ministers recently, Taleb Rifai, UNWTO secretary general, congratulated the Kingdom for adopting legal mechanisms for the protection of its historical sites and contributing to ensure that tourism and culture continue to develop for the benefit of both.
“Cultural tourism — the movement of travelers motivated by the mosaic of art forms, heritage sites, festivals, traditions, and pilgrimages — is growing at an unprecedented rate. These are positives as the nexus between culture and tourism translates into important income generation for destinations but also for conservation,” he said.
“Nonetheless, such growth needs to be managed in a responsible and sustainable manner through adequate public policies and legislation,” he added.
Notably, this legislation on antiquities and national heritage coincided with the recent inclusion of the Jeddah historic area in the UNESCO world heritage site list, recognizing the old city’s cultural value and unique model with its distinguished urban heritage.
According to SCTA, the new monuments system will enhance protection of national heritage sites as resources for economic benefit and equally important in light of the evolution of interest and increased care of urban heritage of the Kingdom, whether architectural heritage or museums, to develop a system of monuments and primarily focus on the importance of awareness of monuments.
This system has been successfully applied in the past with the ministry of petroleum and did not affect in any way the ongoing developmental work.
SCTA has developed mechanisms that enable them to respond to this system, all of which is to protect national heritage and it is going to work with the ministries of transport and municipal affairs, petroleum and agriculture.