From the Newsroom
São Paulo – The increasing demand for domestic tourism ushered in by the movement restrictions imposed by COVID-19 has made a group of islands a must-see Red Coast destination described as the Saudi Maldives. In a story about the place, the Saudi newspaper Arab News’ website calls the Umluj governorate, where the beaches are, the hottest destination in this summer in the Arab country. This is time of the school holidays and it is usually very hot in Saudi Arabia. International flights continue to be suspended in the country.
White sands, deep blue waters, and hidden coral reefs are some of the attractions of the Red Sea coast destination. Khalid Khayat, owner of the Royal Tours camp at Umluj, says that the area had actually been known for a long time as one of the best beaches in Saudi Arabia, but it was only when crown prince Mohammed bin Salman visited and announced the Red Sea Project in 2017 that it gained global recognition.
“There are 99 islands with beautiful sandy beaches. People call it the Saudi Maldives,” Khayat told Arab News. Its variety of coral reefs makes it a must-see for divers. “You rarely find reefs in such a variety of colors, shapes and sizes like those at Umluj. Honestly, it’s like diving into paradise,” Khayat said. Umluj is also an ideal destination for hikers and mountain climbers. There are also volcanos that can be visited and are highly popular.
A tourist that often visits Umluj with her husband told Arab News that she was looking for different places in Saudi Arabia to visit on the Eid holiday when she came across Umluj. “The sand is as soft as cotton, and the water is crystal clear,” Aalia Fathima told Arab News, adding that there are many species of crab and beautiful shells dotting the beaches. “We enjoyed it greatly,” she said. Eid is a Muslim religious holiday.
Khayat said that ever since the announcement of the Red Sea Project, the number of visitors to Ulmuj has increased. The number of international visitors sometimes even exceeds the number of Saudi visitors. Royal Tours receive 40 to 45 guests a day. The Red Sea Project is focused on investments in tourist developments on the Red Sea coast, including hotels, marinas, and recreation centers. Umluj is at about 1,000 kilometers away from the Saudi capital, Riyadh
Translated by Guilherme Miranda