Saudi entertainment authority launches e-portal to facilitate event planners

Updated 17 November 2017
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Saudi entertainment authority launches e-portal to facilitate event planners

RIYADH: The General Entertainment Authority (GEA) launched an online “License Portal” on Nov. 14 to facilitate event planners in obtaining official permissions in minimum possible time.
A four-minute instructional video is also available on the GEA’s website, www.events.gea.gov.sa. The step-by-step video contains all information about the required documents to be uploaded through the web portal. It is currently available only in Arabic.
Event planners and organizers have reacted positively to the measure. However, they said they have to wait and watch how things work, as the service is yet to be tested.
“It’s still too early to tell,” said Anwar Idriss, a media consultant and entertainment director.
“If the portal is backed up with a well-organized support team that offers assistance on an equal opportunity basis, it will solve many of the issues we currently face.” He added: “The purpose is to help organizers’ workflow, not complicate it. There are many who would like to enter the business, and are in need of guidance.”
Before the establishment of the GEA, organizers had to face several bureaucratic complications in the issuance of permissions, as various agencies and authorities used to issue permits.
However, now event planners hope that the introduction of the new service will prove to be a “one-window” operation.
A GEA spokesperson told Arab News: “It’s too soon to comment on the results ...The portal was established for event planners in the Kingdom who organize events that go along with our vision. If an event planner doesn’t qualify… the application will be rejected until all the requirements are met.”
The authority also launched an electronic “ideas portal” for the 2018 calendar year for international and national organizations and entertainment firms. The aim is to diversify and develop the entertainment industry in the Kingdom to meet international standards.
The GEA has offered all organizers to submit their ideas through http://add.roznamah.sa starting Nov.13. The ideas will be accepted until Dec. 14.


Sign language and Braille Qur’ans to help pilgrims at Two Holy Mosques

A blind Saudi reads in braille a copy of the Quran, Islam's holy book, inside a mosque on the first day of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in the coastal town of Qatif, 400 kms east of Riyadh, on May 27, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 11 min 47 sec ago
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Sign language and Braille Qur’ans to help pilgrims at Two Holy Mosques

  • Copies of the Qur’an in Braille along with other religious booklets are available, as are on-site specialists to help pilgrims during prayer times and guide them through the mosque sites

MAKKAH: Sign language, Braille Qur’ans and electric wheelchairs are some of the new features in Makkah and Madinah to help pilgrims with disabilities to execute the religious rites of Hajj and Umrah.
An official at the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques described those with disabilities as “highly motivated people with special powers” and that services had been established to aid them, providing them with ease and comfort and avoiding complications even during peak times.
Ahmed Al-Burqati, who is tasked with helping people at the presidency, told Arab News there were designated entrances to ease access to prayer areas, including the ones on the ground and first floors of the King Fahd expansion at the Grand Mosque in Makkah.
Other provisions include a pen that serves as a Qur’an reader, and help for holding and carrying Qur’ans for people unable to hold them. Copies of the Qur’an in Braille along with other religious booklets are available, as are on-site specialists to help pilgrims during prayer times and guide them through the mosque sites, he added.
Ahmed Badawi, an Egyptian pilgrim performing Umrah, said he was not expecting to find such services awaiting him in the Grand Mosque compound.
Other special services at the holy mosques include: Wheelchairs transported in golf carts to prayer areas; designated entrances; sign language interpreters for those with hearing or speech impairments; canes for the blind and visually impaired; and electric wheelchairs to perform key religious rites such as tawaf.