286 Saudi islands on offer for tourism investment in southern Jazan

The 286 Farasan Islands are one of the biggest island groups in the southern part of Red Sea.
Updated 13 October 2017
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286 Saudi islands on offer for tourism investment in southern Jazan

JAZAN: The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) has announced that 286 islands off the Jazan coast will be on the market for tourism investment to raise the state’s income.
Rustom Al-Kubaisi, head of the SCTH’s branch in Jazan, said that an executive committee has been formed to encourage tourism investment by Jazan Gov. Prince Mohammed bin Nasser bin Abdul Aziz on Wednesday, along with a center for tourism investment services.
Al-Kubaisi, who was appointed secretary-general of the committee, told Sabq e-newspaper that forming this committee aims to publicize the Jazan region and the tourism investments available, facilitate and accelerate investment procedures so that the region can attract more investors from the tourism sector and make a qualitative shift to tourism services, in accordance with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
The committee aims to raise the competitiveness of the tourism investment environment in Jazan by resolving obstacles facing investors; accelerating investment procedures; offering investment opportunities in a professional way; studying investors’ needs, wishes and reasons keeping them from investing; creating a well-studied and intensive marketing campaign to introduce the region; and offering investment opportunities through the participation in specialized exhibitions in the Kingdom as a first step, and in the Arab Gulf as a second step.
The 286 Farasan Islands, are one of the biggest island groups in the southern part of Red Sea, and one of the most important touristic locations, thanks to its natural beauty.
The SCTH has allocated SR3 billion ($800 million) to develop and transform the islands into a touristic environment. Farasan is the largest island of the Farasan Islands, located some 50 km offshore from Jazan. A number of uninhabited islands serve as breeding sites for large numbers of birds and Arabian gazelles.
Farasan Island was considered a major part of the trade in pearls in the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea in ancient times.


Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

The end of the driving ban is expected to help bring an economic windfall for Saudi women. (Shutterstock)
Updated 23 June 2018
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Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

  • The historic move is a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Saudi Arabia, says businesswoman
  • A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market

The end of the driving ban will boost women’s financial power and allow them to play a bigger role in economic and social diversification in line with Vision 2030, prominent businesswomen said on Friday.

Hind Khalid Al-Zahid was the first Saudi woman designated as an executive director — for Dammam Airport Company — and also heads the Businesswomen Center at the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

She sees the historic move as a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Kingdom.

“Women being allowed to drive is very important; of course this will help a lot in sustainable development as the lifting of the ban on women driving came as a wonderful opportunity to increase women’s participation in the workforce,” she told Arab News on Friday, ahead of the end of the ban on Sunday.

She added that women in the job market are under-represented; they make up to 22 percent of the national workforce of about six million according to official estimates. Lifting the ban will help to take women’s representation in the workforce to 30 percent by 2030, she said.

“This is not just the right thing to do for women’s emancipation, but also an essential step in economic and social development as part of the reforms,” she said.

She said that there were different obstacles in increasing women’s participation in the workforce and other productive activities, and the driving ban was one of them. It was a strategic issue that needed to be addressed on a priority basis. With the issue resolved, it would help immensely in giving Saudi women better representation as they would help to diversify the Saudi economy and society.

She said that women could contribute hugely to the workforce and labor market as half of Saudi human resources were female, and unless allowed to excel in different sectors it would not be possible to do better, mainly because of restricted mobility.

A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market.

Nouf Ibrahim, a businesswoman in Riyadh, said: “It will surely boost female economic participation and help increase women’s representation in the workforce immensely. It will also help to reduce the overall national unemployment rate as most of the unemployed are women and many of them are eligible as university graduates.”

She echoed the opinion that the move would help to bring an economic windfall for Saudi women, making it easier for them to work and do business, and thus play a bigger and better role that would help economic and social diversification in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

“Being able to drive from Sunday onwards after the ban is lifted will be a wonderful experience. Earlier we were dependent on a male family member and house driver to take us to workplace, to the shopping center, school or other required places for some work, now we can drive and that will allow active participation in productive work,” Sulafa Hakami, a Saudi woman working as the digital communication manager with an American MNC in Riyadh, told Arab News.

“Saudi women can now share effectively the bigger and better responsibilities,” she said.