Fee-payment system glitches prevent travel of some foreign residents

A Saudi man counts banknotes. (AFP)
Updated 04 July 2017
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Fee-payment system glitches prevent travel of some foreign residents

JEDDAH: Glitches in the electronic system to collect payment of the newly imposed fees on foreign residents’ family members caused many to miss flights over the past two days.
A local newspaper spoke with a number of Sudanese residents trying to pay their exit visa fees at the airport Sunday afternoon. Abdulrahman Abbas missed his flight despite the fact he had received a boarding pass.
Another passenger, Abdulhameed Al-Warai, said he tried to pay the fees several times but the system refused to recognize it, and consequently would not issue an exit-and-return visa. “Then I went to the airport where Passports Department personnel tried to solve the problem, but they could not document my payment in the system no matter how hard they tried. Eventually I could not travel,” he said.
Khaled Mahjoub reported that he tried to pay online several times and the messages that popped up on the screen said, “the service is under maintenance” and then, “the service is not available.”


Farasan Islands initiative launched to boost Saudi tourism

Updated 19 min 44 sec ago
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Farasan Islands initiative launched to boost Saudi tourism

JEDDAH: The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) has unveiled an initiative to develop the Farasan Islands in Jazan and turn them into a unique tourist destination as part of Saudi Arabia’s National Transformation Program 2020.
The initiative seeks to take advantage of the distinct features of the islands, including their abundant coral reefs, captivating beaches, rich cultural heritage, pure waters, unique geographical location, mangrove forests, diverse marine species and rare animals and birds.
SCTH explained that the initiative includes plans for hotels, coastal resorts, marine activities, and recreational and heritage sites.
The initiative is expected to generate an annual revenue of SR531 million ($141 million), and attract 375,000 tourists per year to the islands.
1,760 hotel rooms will be made available and more than 6,200 jobs will be created.