A visit to Saudi Arabia: Vision 2030
• By MECRA • May 22, 2018
Daniel Rasmussen* took a trip to Saudi Arabia, what follows is an interview with him about current affairs in the Kingdom as it undergoes reforms.
Tell us about what brought you to Saudi Arabia?
I recently took a trip to Saudi Arabia after receiving a generous business visa, which required an sponsor letter from a local firm, and the official ministries. It was an eyeopening experience to see first hand whether the Kingdom is changing and reforming and to get a sense of local conditions and concerns.
When I first got to Riyadh I was in the international arrivals terminal. It looked very dated. I thought that they say they are building this $500 billion megacity in the middle of the desert, but their capital city airport is not that great. I had come from Dubai and saw that and wondered what is going on here. It turns out it is step by step. Driving across the country you see signs and billboards with King and Crown Prince and "Vision 2030” — and that is like the new slogan of the nation. If there is any takeaway it is that. They have building going on everywhere. For domestic arrivals and departures it is all brand new.
What is interesting is that there is a lot of development but some of them are like ghost towns. Whether we went to a village on the side of the road, there is no one there. So what I was wondering is if after Ramadan and during Hajj that is when the infrastructure starts to fill up.
Dammam and Dhahran are nice and have resorts.
Driving in Saudi Arabia (Courtesy Daniel Rasmussen)