Towards the backdrop of rock-reduce tombs and sand-swept ruins, Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli regaled revellers on Thursday in an historic Saudi desert town at the centre of the kingdom’s tourism drive.
Bocelli carried out together with his family members users at UNESCO Planet Heritage web page Hegra in the kingdom’s Al-Ula governorate, a extended-isolated region observed commonly as an open up-air museum.
Saudi Arabia has splurged billions to develop web sites like it in an attempt to create a tourism marketplace from scratch, as part of efforts to diversify its oil-reliant overall economy.
Bocelli, who has executed in the kingdom at the very least two times right before, was the “very first artist in identified historical past to stage a concert in just the metropolis walls of Hegra”, organisers of the televised celebration reported.
The singer belted out Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” in a duet with his young daughter Virginia to an audience that organisers reported was confined to much less than 300, owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
The hundreds of years-outdated Al-Ula, an region approximately the size of Belgium in which Nabatean tombs and art are chiselled into caramel-hued rock, is seen as the centrepiece of Saudi tourism sights.
The when reclusive kingdom commenced issuing tourist visas for the 1st time in 2019.
Saudi Arabia has invited global musicians –- from Janet Jackson to 50 Cent and Korean pop team BTS –- for live shows that were being unimaginable in the conservative region just 4 many years in the past, loosening a long time-previous limitations on amusement.
But the pandemic has place a brake on the country’s formidable press to revamp its worldwide picture and attract travelers.
Saudi Arabia has claimed extra than 395,000 coronavirus infections and 6,700 deaths from Covid-19.
The region also faces developing international scrutiny of its human rights report subsequent the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in its Istanbul consulate.
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