Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage chief highlights tourism’s role in maintaining peace

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Prince Sultan bin Salman
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Updated 12 December 2017
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Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage chief highlights tourism’s role in maintaining peace

RIYADH: Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) President Prince Sultan bin Salman on Monday iterated that Saudi Arabia’s care for tourism and heritage represents its care for the global human history and heritage in its capacity as the cradle of Islam and as the junction of civilizations throughout the history.
The SCTH chief said this during his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the second UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture in Muscat under the theme “Fostering sustainable tourism development.”
Prince Sultan asserted that led by King Salman, the Kingdom has been experiencing a huge transformation in the tourism sector.
He said the Kingdom is taking several steps like the offering of tourist visas next year and launching different programs to promote tourism. He also highlighted initiatives like “Saudi Arabia: A destination for Muslims” in addition to other mega projects which come within the initiative of “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Program for Caring of the Cultural Heritage” and involve several projects including 32 key museums in different parts of the Kingdom as well as the expansion of some existing museums.
The SCTH chief further stressed that tourism, apart from its role as an economic industry sector, undertakes a leading role in enhancing a citizen’s relations with his nation and land, and boosting human knowledge which, he said, is a basis of peace between nations.
The two-day conference which began on Monday at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Center is a sequel to the first World Conference on Tourism and Culture in Siem Reap, Cambodia in February 2015. It aims to reflect upon the Siem Reap declaration that pledged to explore the synergies of the tourism and culture sectors to work in harmony for sustainable development.
The conference will address a wide range of topics including governance models, tourism development and protection of cultural heritage, culture and tourism in urban development and creativity, and exploring the cultural landscape in tourism.
Notably, the UN has declared 2017 as “the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development,” thereby offering a unique opportunity to explore and highlight tourism’s potential and help transform the world into a place of prosperity and well-being for all.
The conference will explore various ways to strengthen partnerships between the tourism and culture sectors by enhancing their role in the UN’s agenda for sustainable development, reflecting upon outcomes of the first conference in Siem Reap.


Saudi MERS outbreaks killed 23 over four months: WHO

Updated 18 June 2018
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Saudi MERS outbreaks killed 23 over four months: WHO

  • The latest figures take the number of confirmed cases to 2,220 since September 2012, including 1,844 from Saudi Arabia
  • The disease is hard to spot, partly because it often infects people with an underlying condition such as diabetes, renal failure or chronic lung disease

GENEVA: Outbreaks of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) killed 23 people in Saudi Arabia between Jan. 21 and May 31 this year, the World Health Organization said on Monday.
The deaths were among 75 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV) during the period, the WHO said, and take the total number of deaths from the disease to 790 since it was first diagnosed in humans in 2012.
The latest figures take the number of confirmed cases to 2,220 since September 2012, including 1,844 from Saudi Arabia.
One outbreak in February hit a private hospital in Hafer Albatin region, where the patient passed the disease to three health workers. There was another cluster of six cases in a hospital in Riyadh in the same month, although no health care workers were infected.
Two other clusters affected households in Jeddah and Najran.
MERS-CoV is a member of a virus family ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. It appears to have emerged in humans in Saudi Arabia in 2012, although it has been traced in camels, the source of the infection, back to at least 1983.
The disease is hard to spot, partly because it often infects people with an underlying condition such as diabetes, renal failure or chronic lung disease.
But it kills one in three sufferers, and hospital workers are at risk unless extreme caution is taken to identify MERS sufferers early and to protect health care workers from infection via airborne droplets such as from coughs and sneezes.
Susceptible people should avoid contact with suspected cases and with camels, and anyone who has contact with animals should wash their hands before and afterwards, the WHO said. Everyone should avoid drinking raw camel milk or camel urine, or eating undercooked meat.
Three MERS cases have been reported this year outside Saudi Arabia. Oman and the United Arab Emirates each reported a case, while in Malaysia a man fell ill after drinking unpasteurised camel milk during a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.