The Business Year Special Report
John Ramsay Oliver
COUNTRY DIRECTOR, SAUDI ARABIA, TURQUOISE MOUNTAIN
As far as heritage preservation and cultural tourism are concerned, how are things changing in Saudi Arabia?
Saudi Vision 2030 recognized the importance of developing, recording, protecting, and enhancing the rich heritage and beauty of Saudi Arabia. And the more you look at opening up the country, bringing in tourism, and investing in different streams of revenue, then the more important your country’s heritage and culture become. What we are witnessing is a cultural renaissance—and it is happening fast. The Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Tourism are joining forces with multiple Royal Commissions to preserve and develop, and make accessible to all, the Country’s heritage and culture.
What channels is Turquoise Mountain investing in to promote its products?
We will support the development of an online platform in arts and crafts as well as collections for physical retail shops. I would love all people to be able to easily access and buy beautiful products made in Saudi Arabia made by local Saudi people. We work with Artisans in more than 20 crafts, each with a range of different artisans all around the country. We work with government departments, government entities, philanthropic organizations, and commercial partners all to build the capability and capacity of this sector and to make the vision come to life.
Can you elaborate on your consolidation and expansion strategy?
Our aim is to help as many Saudi artisans make a sustainable living from making beautiful products and increase the awareness and pride in the amazing diversity of arts and craft traditions in the country. To date, our artisans have produced over 17,000 products for commercial commissions. We would love to keep helping to grow these sales and make it more common place to buy a product which tells more of the wonderful story of Saudi heritage. Our government and commercial contracts continue to grow, and we have a commitment to be in Saudi Arabia for as long as there is a need and demand for our services.