Tourist visas to be introduced

Updated 14 January 2014
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Tourist visas to be introduced

Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry is set to receive a shot in the arm following the government’s decision to issue tourist visas for the first time to woo foreigners intending to visit its historical sites.
The Council of Ministers has entrusted the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) with the task of issuing tourist visas on the basis of certain regulations approved by the Ministries of Interior and Foreign Affairs.
The new tourism law aims at bringing about a qualitative improvement in the industry, which is expected to play a significant role in strengthening the economy besides creating thousands of jobs for Saudis.
“This is a very good move,” said Abdelelah Saaty, dean of the College of Business in Rabigh, while praising the efforts of the SCTA chief Prince Sultan bin Salman to boost domestic tourism. Saaty, however, pointed out that a lot more needs to be done to further strengthen the industry in terms of improving services, building facilities such as hotels and motels and training Saudis on how to handle foreign tourists.
“We should make Saudi Arabia a tourist-friendly country and people should feel it right from their arrival at the airport,” Saaty told Arab News. “We should also establish excellent service stations along our highways.”
He said most foreigners are interested in visiting historical sites and antiquities in the Kingdom. “I am happy to see that the SCTA is working to develop the historical region of Jeddah, which is one of the best tourist attractions in the city. Recently, I had taken a group of American academics to the region and they were highly impressed by it,” he said.
The new law stipulates that tourist areas are protected as public property and cannot be owned privately. It bans operators from participating in the sector without license. The SCTA has the power to penalize those who break the law, imposing fines up to SR 100,000 and cancelation of licenses.


King Salman to inaugurate key mining, industrial projects

Updated 21 min 8 sec ago
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King Salman to inaugurate key mining, industrial projects

  • The king will visit Waad Al-Shamal City for Mining Industries in the northern borders to inaugurate a number of mining and industrial projects
  • The Saudi Cabinet noted the visit by King Salman to Qassim and Hail, attending citizens’ celebrations as well as his inauguration of a number of development projects

JEDDAH: King Salman will visit the northern regions of the Kingdom next week to inaugurate a number of development projects.
The king will also visit Waad Al-Shamal City for Mining Industries in the northern borders to inaugurate a number of mining and industrial projects, the Royal Court said in a statement on Tuesday.
Also on Tuesday, Saudi Shoura Council Speaker Sheikh Abdullah Al Al-Asheikh announced that the king will inaugurate the activities of the third year of the seventh session of the Shoura Council next Monday. The king will deliver a speech on Saudi Arabia’s internal and external policy.
The Saudi Cabinet on Tuesday also noted the visit by King Salman to the two regions of Qassim and Hail, attending citizens’ celebrations as well as his inauguration and laying the cornerstone of a number of development projects.
This reflects the king’s directives to provide services for all citizens and regions in the Kingdom for the achievement of further growth and development.
The Cabinet also commended the king’s directive to release prisoners and the insolvent in the regions of Qassim and Hail and pay their debts, considering it an extension of his care for insolvent and limited-income citizens.
The Cabinet reviewed the Kingdom’s support for the Palestinian cause, pointing to the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD)’s transfer of the Kingdom’s financial contribution to support the Palestinian Authority’s budget for August, September and October 2018, including an additional contribution totaling $60 million.
The Cabinet reiterated Saudi Arabia’s strong condemnation and denunciation of the bombing that took place in Mosul, northern Iraq; the suicide attacks in the Iraqi capital of Mogadishu and the Afghani capital of Kabul; and the attack in the city of Melbourne, Australia, confirming the Kingdom’s rejection of violence, terrorism and extremism, offering condolences to the families of the dead and wishing the injured a speedy recovery.
The Cabinet reviewed a number of scientific and cultural activities, stressing that the patronage of King Salman of the honoring ceremony of winners of the eighth King Khalid Award is considered an expression of his support for the prize to achieve its humanitarian, social and developmental goals.