Jeddah – Saudi Arabia is increasingly relaxing the rules for its citizens. Now, local tourists are allowed to go to the beach with their girlfriends.

For Asma, a citizen of Saudi Arabia, spending the day with her lover on the beaches in Saudi Arabia is unthinkable. But now, the 32-year-old woman can dance with her partner on the white sand by the Red Sea to the accompaniment of music from loudspeakers.

Asma and her boyfriend only need to pay the entrance ticket to Pure Beach near Jeddah of 300 Saudi riyals per person. They are not the only couple. A man and a woman holding hands on a beach that has the words “Saudi Arabia” in English when viewed from above.

“I’m glad I can now go to the nearest beach to enjoy my time,” said Asma.

“It’s a symbol of happiness, it’s our dream to come here and spend a wonderful weekend,” she added.

In addition to being able to come with a lover and put on music with loudspeakers, now female tourists are also allowed to wear bikinis in the beach area. Some of them relax while smoking Shisha.

The music that is played is not only local music, but western songs. They talk, cuddle, hug, make out.

In many countries, this practice is not a strange sight, but it is different for Saudi Arabia.

Music was banned in public places until 2017. Women can go to the beach, but the area is separated from men. In fact, women are prohibited from driving until 2018.

The pair of tourists were also spotted outside the Jeddah area, which is known as the country’s most laid-back area. Pure Beach is in King Abdullah Economic City, about 125 kilometers north of downtown Jeddah.

“I grew up here, and a few years ago we weren’t even allowed to listen to music, so it’s like heaven,” said Hadeel Omar from Egypt.

Bilal Saudi, head of events at King Abdullah Economic City, said the beach targeted local visitors and foreign tourists alike.

“I feel that I no longer have to travel (abroad) to have fun, because everything is here,” said Dima, a young Saudi businessman, swaying to the music.

Officials at the beach said they did not know whether the couple was married or not. It was only two years ago that unmarried foreign couples were allowed to share hotel rooms.

For the sake of ‘privacy’, as the staff put it, the phones were confiscated and kept in plastic bags.

“I was surprised by the freedom and openness on the beach, something only experienced in the United States,” said the beachgoer.

Furthermore, Saleh said that what was still lacking was the ban on cocktails. Yes, the ban on alcoholic beverages still applies nationally.

“Life like this is normal in Saudi Arabia. Before, it was not normal,” said Asma.

Riyadh – Saudi Arabia is increasingly attracting tourists. Most recently, the world’s largest offshore tourist attraction will be built.

As of last Saturday (16/10/2021), the Arab Public Investment Fund announced the launch of The Rig or the offshore area to be the largest tourist spot in the world.

The construction of The Rig cannot be separated from the ambition of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) who is trying to realize the dream of Saudi Arabia’s economic transformation. To realize that dream, the Arab Public Investment Fund is said to be managing funds amounting to USD 400 billion or equivalent to Rp 5,625 trillion.

In its official statement, the Arab Public Investment Fund said that The Rig is located in a bay that spans an area of ​​more than 150 thousand square meters.

In The Rig later will be made a number of interesting places. Reportedly there will be three hotels, restaurants, a number of helipads and various places of adventure activities to test the adrenaline including extreme sports.

However, the Arab Public Investment Fund did not reveal how much The Rig project is worth.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is currently building six giant projects including The Rig. Quoted from Arab News, the value of these super-giant projects is estimated at US$ 7 trillion or around Rp 98,896 trillion, or almost Rp 100,000 trillion. Saudi Arabia hopes this project can boost investment and the country’s economy.