Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ahsa Oasis has been admitted to the Guinness World Records as the world’s largest self-contained oasis.
The site, located in the kingdom’s Eastern Province, consists of over 2.5 million palm trees extending over 85.4 kilometres and is watered by 280 artesian springs connected to a huge aquifer.
Already listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with other Saudi historical sites such as Al-Ula in the north-west and the rock art in the province of Hail, Al-Ahsa Oasis was introduced to the Guinness World Records by the Saudi Heritage Commission.
Now known as the largest palm oasis surrounded by sand in the world, Al-Ahsa has been added to the list of Saudi sites in the Guinness World Records which already recognised the Maraya concert hall in Al-Ula as the largest building covered with mirrors in the world this year.
The kingdom, which is ranked the second country in the Arab world in terms of its number of Guinness World Records’ achievements, sees Al-Ahsa’s new status as a milestone in its aim to become a leading tourist destination in the region.
Saudi Arabia set out on its path to open up the country to international tourism over the past few years, establishing a new visa system earlier this year to enable people to visit solely for the purpose of tourism rather than business, family, or religious pilgrimage.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the kingdom announced in June plans to launch a $4 billion tourism development fund to boost its tourism industry after the effects of the pandemic pass. Last month, that development fund signed a deal with two of the country’s banks to provide $43 billion worth of tourism projects throughout the kingdom.