Few takers for decision to close shops by 9 p.m.

Updated 15 March 2014
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Few takers for decision to close shops by 9 p.m.

A government decision is expected within a few days stipulating that retail stores and general service shops close by 9 p.m.
The decision follows recommendations made by six government agencies, who had conducted an earlier study on the issue.
Restaurants, drug stores and food stores that have a license to operate on a 24-hour basis will, however, be exempted from the decision.
Many people expect that the decision will have a large impact on social life in Saudi Arabia, as well as huge effects on the national economy and individual income.
Several economists expect the decision to mark a major shift in consumption patterns, not to mention the social and cultural impact such a decision will have on consumers.
“The decision is bound to have a positive impact on power consumption and traffic congestion in a country that is known for its exorbitant consumption rates,” said Rashid Al-Fozan, an economic journalist at Al-Arabiya. “I also believe that more youth will be attracted to working for the private sector when they know that they will have to work less hours. Saudis who want to supplement their monthly incomes can even open their own stores,” he said.
Many analysts believe that the decision will reshape social life in Saudi Arabia and create closer bonds between families. Such a measure, they say, will impose discipline on the lives of ordinary Saudis, who are bound to become more productive in the long run.
Yet many saleswomen have expressed concern at the prospect of having their salaries reduced due to the shorter working hours.
“I am a full-time worker and I earn around SR4,000 for working two shifts at a store,” said Fatima Abdullah, a saleswoman at a Jeddah-based store. “It is very hectic commuting to and from work and transportation costs are eating up a huge chunk of my salary.”
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Saudi Arabia to become ‘a tourism magnet’

Saudi Arabia has been praised for projects to enhance tourism in the country. (Supplied)
Updated 27 min 49 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia to become ‘a tourism magnet’

  • International tourism projects in line with Vision 2030 include the Al-Qadiya development to build the largest recreational city in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has won praise for a series of Vision 2030 megaprojects that “will put the Kingdom on the world tourism map.”
Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary-general of the UN World Tourism Organization, highlighted the Kingdom’s efforts to develop its tourism sector during talks with Ahmad Al-Khatib, chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH).
Both sides discussed extending the partnership between the UN organization and Saudi Arabia to further strengthen tourism initiatives in the Kingdom.
International tourism projects in line with Vision 2030 include the Al-Qadiya development to build the largest recreational city in Saudi Arabia, and megaprojects such as Al-Ula and Al-Diriyah Gate to restore a UNESCO site.
The projects “will put the Kingdom on the world tourism map and help it realize its vision of becoming a major global tourist destination,” Pololikashvili said. 
He congratulated Al-Khatib on his appointment as SCTH chairman, and accepted an invitation to view the Kingdom’s latest projects and tourism events.