words Al Woods
If you’re a travel blogger, or are hoping to make a name (and a living) for yourself by exploring the world, you may not have given all that much thought to the Middle East. The world is a big place, after all, and there are so many familiar sights to see right on your doorstep. Indeed, you could live your whole life and see a range of beautiful locations and never have to leave the English speaking world.
It’s no accident that 58% of Americans don’t have a passport. Nonetheless, those who care to venture into the Middle Eastern provinces like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates often find a wealth of wonders both natural and manmade. They are given a warm and genuine welcome and get to avail themselves of some of the finest hospitality on the planet.
Let’s take a look at why more and more bloggers are loving the Middle East in 2020…
Incredible Sporting Events
The year saw the first ever Saudi Cup take place, this event is due to return every year around February and promises to keep its crown for being the most elegant horse race in the world. The prize money for this event this year was an incredible $20 million USD. $10 million of this went to the winner, second place won an astonishing $3,500,000, third place was awarded $2,000,000, fourth place was given $1,500,000, and the fifth place got $1,000,000. Even the jockey who comes in 10th will get a substantial $200,000.
The event always promises to be a lavish affair and those who visit will have no shortage of great photo opportunities and epic bragging rights. HRH Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al Faisal, a lifelong horse lover and Chairman of the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia will be in attendance so you’d certainly be in good company.
The Middle East has no shortage of spectacular sights to wow bloggers’ audiences as they share their adventures with their followings. Whether you want to share images of vast expansive deserts like Saudi Arabia’s Rub’ al Khali (also known as “the empty quarter”) or the lush Wathba Wetland Reserve near Abu Dhabi there’s plenty to excite the senses and make bloggers wonder at the humble majesty of nature’s creation.
Of course, there are also multiple instances where the natural and the manmade worlds exist in perfect harmony. There’s no better example of this than the ancient mountain city of Ta’if, home to the incredible Rose Festival which is held every March. A must-see for lovers of all things botanical.
When many think of the Middle East their thoughts turn to the opulent architectural marvels that boldly scratch the skies with their lofty tips. While many are familiar with the world famous Burj Khalifa (made even more famous for its starring role in Mission: Impossible- Ghost Protocol. Still, while this is an impressive structure, it’s by no means the only majestic building in the region. Saudi Arabia alone boasts the astounding Jeddah Tower, the sleek Kingdom Centre and the gorgeous Makkah Clock Royal Tower to name but a few. Not to mention all those stunning mosques including the Umayyad Mosque in Syria, Turkey’s famous Blue Mosque, the incredible Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi and Mecca’s Masjid Al Haram The Great Mosque of Mecca the world-famous pilgrimage site which every Muslim must visit at least once.
Regardless of faith, these are incredible sites that all bloggers must visit.
Unique Theme Parks
Sure, you might be able to visit Hogwarts and Diagon Alley at the Warner Bros. studio tour in London. But in Abu Dhabi you can visit Metropolis and Gotham City in the same day, meet the Justice League for lunch and hang out with Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck in the afternoon. That’s because the UAE capital is home to the new billion dollar Warner Bros. World which is home to all kinds of characters from DC comics, Looney Tunes and Hanna Barbera.
An absolute must-visit for theme park reviewers; especially those who dearly love these iconic characters.
Animal loving bloggers will find a wealth of great places from which to watch some of the region’s most beloved wildlife in their natural habitat. One great example is the stunning out the stunning Yas Island which is home to a range of indigenous animals including Arabian oryx, Somali ostriches, deer gazelle, deer reticulated giraffes and even dolphins and sea turtles.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more stunning location to shoot and write about than the Middle East in 2020.