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Saudi Arabia hosts first UNESCO session amid massive tourism drive

Recognition of more sites by the global heritage organization may help the kingdom reach its goals of more jobs and revenue from tourism.

DUBAI - Saudi Arabia will host on Sunday its first United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage committee session starting Sunday, as the country aims to become a global tourist destination. 

The gathering from Sept. 10-25 in Riyadh was originally meant to take place in June 2022 in Kazan, Russia, but the Russia-Ukraine war led some global cultural organizations to reconsider.  

In January of this year, Saudi Arabia was elected chair of the World Heritage committee, which is responsible for making additions to UNESCO’s list of protected sites, allocating financial assistance, and taking action on mismanaged properties.

Raising Saudi's profile

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