Pure Beach, is a beach located in the west of Saudi Arabia, where it is possible to forget, at least for a moment, that you are in this ultraconservative kingdom.
What is known about Pure Beach?
For Asma, a 32-year-old Saudi, spending a day at the beach with her boyfriend was unthinkable in her ultra-conservative country. But today, on the beach west of the kingdom, he rejoices that he can live a “normal” life.
“I am happy to be able to come to the beach and have a good time. It’s a dream“She says, dressed in a bathing suit, still wet, covered by a blue T-shirt.
For four years now, this oil-rich country has embarked on a campaign of economic and social reforms, under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salmán.
- Women can now drive, theaters reopened and there is no longer segregation by sex in sporting or musical events.
Nevertheless, This openness has been accompanied by a relentless policy from the Crown Prince’s critics and many women’s rights activists are in detention.
On Pure Beach, the beach for women and men that is located a hundred kilometers from Yedá, a city to the west of the kingdom known to be the most open in the country, it is possible to forget, at least for a moment, that you are in saudi arabia.
Paying an entry fee of 300 riyals, about 81 dollars or 70 euros, women can bathe in the turquoise waters of the Red Sea in bikini. Men and women can smoke shisha on the white sand or walk their pets. But alcohol is officially banned, as in the rest of the kingdom.
What’s more, couples are not required to present a marriage certificate upon entry, as is often the case in other places such as hotels. But attendees are asked to leave their mobile phones at the entrance to ensure everyone’s privacy, says an official from King Abdullah Economic City, the new city where it is located Pure Beach.
Pure Beach in Saudi Arabaia, the “paradise”
After sunset, the beach turns into an open-air disco, with dancers swaying to the rhythm of western music.
“I was surprised to find this kind of freedom and openness. It’s like in the United States“Says Mohamed Saleh, an engineer who has just returned to the kingdom after a decade away.
Before, Saudis had to travel abroad – to other Middle Eastern countries or Europe – to enjoy this kind of freedom.
“A few years ago we weren’t allowed to listen to music and go to the beach, so for us this is paradise“, Hadil Omar, an Egyptian who grew up in Saudi Arabia, is excited.
Pure Beach is not exclusively aimed at residents of the kingdomBut it also aims to attract tourists, explained Bilal Saoudi, the city’s events manager.
Saudi Arabia issued its first tourist visas in 2019, and announced that it wants to attract 30 million tourists each year by 2030.
Tourism development is one of the pillars of “Vision 2030“, The ambitious reform plan initiated by the crown prince to reduce the dependence of the Saudi economy on oil.