Sri Lankan diplomat mourned

Faizer Mackeen
Updated 31 March 2017
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Sri Lankan diplomat mourned

RIYADH: Members of the Sri Lankan community and diplomats mourned the death of Faizer Mackeen, Sri Lankan consul general in Jeddah, who passed away at a city hospital in the western province on Saturday.
His funeral took place after noon prayers in Makkah attended by people from all walks of life including the Sri Lankan Ambassador Azmi Thassim.
Mackeen’s body was brought from the hospital morgue to Al-Amoudi Mosque, opposite the Sri Lankan Consulate, for the funeral prayer, and for people to pay their last. Later, the body was taken to Makkah for burial.
Mackeen who was 64 suffered a cardiac arrest when he was addressing members of his community at the consulate to mark his country’s National Day on Feb. 4.
He underwent open-heart surgery and was in the intensive care unit at the time of his death.
During his ailment, the External Affairs Ministry in Colombo appointed U.L.M. Niyas, a diplomat from the Riyadh Embassy, to act as consul general in Jeddah.
Niyas said news of the death sent shock waves among the members of the community since Mackeen had earned the goodwill of his compatriots.
Former Sri Lankan Ambassador Mohammed Hussein Mohammed told Arab News from Sri Lanka that the country lost a devoted diplomat who had done so much for the community in a short period.
Duty-free allowances
The Sri Lankan government has announced new duty-free concessions for its overseas workers who have spent more than 12 months abroad.
According to a circular issued by Parakrama Basnayake, Customs deputy director, the government has decided to further extend the duty concession granted to Sri Lankan expats on their return to the country.
Basnayake earlier said expats were granted a customs duty concession to purchase goods valued at $1,500. But now expats returning home after a one-year stint would be allowed to bring in several goods without any duty.
The goods include bathroom equipment, bedroom furniture, solar energy panels, computers, laptops, printers, two mobile phones, motorcycles under 350cc engine capacity, scooters and 55-inch TV sets.


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
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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.