‘Security at Pakistani airports worrying’

Updated 27 June 2014
0

‘Security at Pakistani airports worrying’

A local travel operator has expressed concerns about the security situation at airports in Pakistan after the latest incident on Tuesday when gunmen opened fire at a plane arriving in Peshawar, killing one passenger and injuring three crew members.
The leading Riyadh-based operator, who did not want to be named, said this was the third incident involving violence at Pakistani airports this month.
He said extremists stormed Pakistan's biggest airport, Jinnah International Airport, in the commercial capital Karachi on June 8 in a commando-style attack.
The other incident on June 23 saw a passenger plane carrying an anti-government preacher, Tahirul Qadri, diverted at the last minute from Islamabad to Lahore following violent clashes on the ground between his supporters and police.
Gulf airlines have confirmed that they suspended flights to Peshawar following the latest incident.
Emirates Airlines, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways suspended their operations to and from Bacha Khan International Airport on Wednesday. They were closely monitoring the security situation on Thursday.
Speaking to Arab News on Thursday, a Qatar Airways official in Riyadh, who requested anonymity, said: "Yes, flights from Riyadh to Peshawar are suspended. However, the situation is being reviewed and flights will resume if and when the situation improves."
He declined to answer further questions and referred Arab News to the airline's Doha office. The newspaper could not get comment from the Doha office at the time of going to press.
Emirates had already confirmed on its website that it suspended services to Peshawar. "Flights have been suspended from June 25 until further notice due to the security situation at the Peshawar airport. The passengers booked to travel between June 25 and 27 can cancel their bookings, re-book to travel at a later date, or fly to another Emirates destination in Pakistan,” the Dubai-based airline stated.
Emirates operates five weekly flights to Peshawar, and has a schedule of 66 weekly flights to Pakistan.
Pakistan's civil aviation authority said that although flights were suspended after the Peshawar incident, domestic flights resumed Wednesday. Pakistan's security agencies have arrested hundreds of suspects after the incident.
A Pakistan International Airline official was quoted by a section of the media as saying the gunmen had aimed specifically at the fuel tank because they wanted to blow up the aircraft. "It would have been a disaster had they been successful," he said.


Saudi Commission for Tourism completes training for Hajj guides

Muslim worshippers perform prayers around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Makkah on August 15, 2018, prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city. (AFP)
Updated 17 August 2018
0

Saudi Commission for Tourism completes training for Hajj guides

  • A license takes any traditional work to a professional level, and hosting pilgrims must be included in this initiative, as part of Vision 2030
  • We must look at tourism as an industry through which we present our vision, our goals and our ambitions

MAKKH: In a breakthrough initiative for Tawafa institutions, the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) has completed the training of 135 male and female Tawafa guides — religious guides for Hajj pilgrims — who have obtained tour guide licenses.
The training is the first step in a program that will enable national Tawafa establishments to obtain tour guide licenses. The ceremony for the first of the tour guides to graduate from the training course took place in Makkah on Tuesday, at the National Tawafa Establishment for Pilgrims of Arab Countries (ARBHAJ).
SCTH Director-General Dr. Hisham bin Mohammed Madani said the commission has honored more than 135 male and female “Mutawwifs,” or guides, from ARBHAJ under the partnership between the SCTH and the ARBHAJ to train Tawafa guides to obtain tour guide licenses.
Madani said this is the first phase of an initiative to train guides at all Tawafa establishments, introducing pilgrims to a new concept by helping them visit all historical and archaeological sites and museums in Makkah after performing Hajj rituals.
“Tour guides are more and more dynamic and effective in the tourism industry, and have become an important and effective source of historical information,” he said and added that the tour guide now also functions as an ambassador for the authentic culture of the Kingdom, reflecting its cultural, natural and historical heritage.
Licensing Tawaf guides as tour guides, Madani said, will enrich the tourist experience in the holy capital.
The SCTH chief noted that the city is rich with myriad cultural treasures that need someone to showcase them for tourists.
“We at SCTH presented our experience in qualifying accredited tour guides and we look forward to improving tourism outputs to match the reality and requirements of the new phase,” he said. “In order to reach this goal, we are collaborating with all partners to reach satisfactory results to deal with all nationalities, tongues and cultural backgrounds from all parts of the world with satisfaction, love and positivity.”
“We must look at tourism as an industry through which we present our vision, our goals and our ambitions. Makkah is the holy city that every Muslim looks forward to visiting after hearing about its great heritage. Our role is to provide knowledge and keep abreast of the tourist vision by qualifying and training tour guides, equipping them with the necessary skills and qualifications and honing their skills through required training programs. To this end, all partners must join their efforts and collaborate together to reach the desired goals.”

Initiative
Dr. Abdul Fattah bin Suleiman Mashat, deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah, said that the ministry is implementing an initiative to provide a professional license for everyone working at Hajj, not just in Tawaf.
He said: “A license takes any traditional work to a professional level, and hosting pilgrims must be included in this initiative, as part of Vision 2030, to focus on enriching the pilgrims’ experience, and not only on increasing their numbers.”
Mashat said it was important for pilgrims’ journeys to be coupled with trips to historical and archaeological sites. “We rely on male and female Tawaf guides to organize well-thought-out trips for the pilgrims so that they can enjoy all the historical and archaeological sites and landmarks in Makkah,” he added.