King Salman to cover cost of sacrificial animals for 5,000 pilgrims on Hajj program

Updated 01 September 2017
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King Salman to cover cost of sacrificial animals for 5,000 pilgrims on Hajj program

MAKKAH: King Salman will cover the cost of sacrificial animals for 5,000 pilgrims hosted by the Hajj guest program, an official said.
The offer includes all pilgrims from more than 80 countries hosted by the Guests of King Salman for Hajj and Umrah, said secretary-general of the program, Abdullah bin Mudlaj Al-Mudlaj.
These include relatives of slain soldiers from Palestine, the Egyptian army and police, as well as relatives of Sudanese army personnel who were killed in the Decisive Storm and Restoring Hope operations.
Al-Mudlaj said the number of beneficiaries this Hajj season stands at 5,000, compared to 2,400 last year.
The executive committee of the program has begun work to implement the offer in coordination with the concerned agencies, while all the beneficiaries have been informed of the offer, he added.
The Hajj guest program is coordinated with Islamic figures in different countries around the world. It helps bolster relations between the Kingdom and peoples of Arab and Islamic countries, including Qatari nationals recently hosted by the king.
Meanwhile Tawfiq Al-Sudairi, the deputy minister of Islamic affairs, call and guidance, stressed the history of the Kingdom in disassociating Hajj from political and sectarian divides.
He said: “The Kingdom has disassociated Hajj from politicization and political and sectarian slogans since it was founded by King Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman. He emphasized that … Saudi officials always emphasize this strategic concept, from which all governmental authorities and service programs are launched to assist pilgrims. Therefore, it is always being reaffirmed that Hajj is a religious ritual that must be elevated and that it is so much purer than political and sectarian matters.”
Meanwhile, a Palestinian woman from Gaza wept as she stood in front of a photo of King Salman in the lobby of a hotel hosting the families of martyrs of Palestine who came to perform Hajj.
Ruwdha Abdulhameed, 63, pointed to the King’s photo and in her local Arabic dialect said: “I send my greetings to King Salman. May Allah give him a long life because he is supporter of Palestine … and we are proud of him.”
She said she has been termed as the “mother of a martyr” because her son was killed at the age of 25, and her two grandsons were also martyred. She said her sufferings faded when she arrived in the Kingdom.
“The sons of Palestine are your sons, and Saudi youths are our sons. Our lives are sacrificed for Palestine and Al-Aqsa, of which we are proud,” she said.
Around 1,000 Palestinian pilgrims will perform Hajj this year at the king’s expense under the Guests of King Salman for Hajj and Umrah program.
Pilgrim Aisha Abul-Qasim hopes that Hajj will be a good opportunity to pray for her son, Ayman Jibril, a mine expert in the Sudanese army who died four months ago.
Abul-Qasim is one of 10 Sudanese mothers who lost loved ones fighting with the Saudi-led Arab coalition in Yemen who will perform Hajj this season as guests of King Salman.
With tears in her eyes, Aisha said that her son had four sons of his own when he died. She said that she has spent most of her days taking care of them since April 22, when the Sudanese armed forces informed her that her son was killed.
“The Saudi Embassy in Khartoum facilitated our travel procedures to Jeddah airport. They completed the procedures in record time,” said Abul-Qasim. She also said that the Sudanese pilgrims were given a welcome reception before they were taken to a hotel in Al-Rusayfah in Makkah.


Saudi Arabia plays host to major Indonesian tourism campaign

Updated 38 min 23 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia plays host to major Indonesian tourism campaign

  • More than 165,000 Saudis visited the Southeast Asian country in 2018, and officials there are aiming to increase that number to 200,000 as part of a global visitor target of 20 million for this year
  • Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago, with more than 17,000 islands famed for their beaches, wildlife and natural beauty

JEDDAH: Tourism chiefs have been taking part in a major five-day Saudi campaign to help promote Indonesia as a top international holiday destination.
More than 165,000 Saudis visited the Southeast Asian country in 2018, and officials there are aiming to increase that number to 200,000 as part of a global visitor target of 20 million for this year.
From Feb. 11-15, the Indonesian Tourism Ministry has been working with its Consulate General in Jeddah to run a series of events in the Kingdom in a bid to boost the country’s tourist attractions.
Seventeen agencies representing Indonesia’s hotel, airline and travel industries participated in a business get-together with local Saudi tour operators, and around 70 prominent media figures were invited to the Pullman Hotel in Jeddah for a day of briefings on key Indonesian visitor destinations.
The last three days of the promotional program saw the Tourism Ministry and officials from top local destinations, take part in the Jeddah International Travel and Tourism Exhibition (JTTX), held at the Hilton Hotel.
Indonesia was one of the main sponsors of the event which has now been running for nine years.
Mohamad Hery Saripudin, the consul-general of Indonesia in Jeddah, said numerous innovative promotional breakthroughs had been made toward attracting more Saudi tourists to his country.
Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago, with more than 17,000 islands famed for their beaches, wildlife and natural beauty.
Garuda, the national airline of Indonesia, has helped with the running of familiarization trips for journalists to several tourist hotspots, and other initiatives have seen free Indonesian language courses being offered to Saudis and expatriates.
R. Sigit Witjaksono, the director of tourism marketing for South and Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa, said Indonesia aimed to play host to 20 million visitors from throughout the world during 2019.
He noted that Indonesia welcomed 165,862 Saudi visitors in 2018, the highest total of any country in the Middle East.
As well as its natural delights, Indonesia is Islam-friendly, having thousands of mosques and offering products which are Shariah-compliant.