New post-Umrah tourist visas to be issued this quarter

Umra pilgrims in Madinah. (SPA)
Updated 07 January 2018
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New post-Umrah tourist visas to be issued this quarter

JEDDAH: The director of the Tourism and Heritage Authority in the Makkah region, Mohammed Al-Omari, told Arab News on Saturday that, “citizens from all the countries who have access to the Kingdom can obtain tourist visas.”
Al-Omari continued: “All Muslims from countries around the world can obtain a post-Umrah tourist visa, so when Umrah is finished they can become a tourist.” This is called the extended Umrah visa for post-Umrah tourism.
“Everyone will benefit from these visas as long as the conditions apply to them,” he added.
Umrah is a shorter version of Hajj and can be performed all year round.
The maximum period of visa validity is 30 days.
Asked when these tourism visas would be issued, Al-Omari answered: “Prince Sultan bin Salman, the chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) said that the start of tourism visa issuance will be announced during the first quarter of 2018.”
Sixty-five countries will be allowed tourism visas in the first phase of the project, and the number will increase in the second phase.
Saudi Arabia is aiming to solidify its place as a tourist destination with mega projects such as the Red Sea island resorts and the Neom project on the Gulf of Aqaba.

What is MERS?
• MERS-CoV is a zoonotic virus, which means it is a virus that is transmitted between animals and people.
• MERS was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Since then, it’s been reported in other countries in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia and the US.
• Typical MERS symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea, have also been reported.
• Some laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS infection are reported as asymptomatic, meaning that they do not have any clinical symptoms, yet they are 
   positive for MERS following a laboratory test.
• Approximately 35% of reported patients with MERS have died.
 


Riyadh to host forum to observe World Heritage Day next year

Riyadh hosts the sixth National Urban Heritage Forum in April with its focus on investment opportunities in the urban heritage. (Reuters)
Updated 19 October 2018
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Riyadh to host forum to observe World Heritage Day next year

  • forum will encourage private investment to capitalize on the country’s rich urban heritage
  • Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage hosts the forum each year in a different part of the Kingdom

RIYADH: The Saudi capital will host the sixth National Urban Heritage Forum (NUHF) next April to coincide with World Heritage Day, with its focus on investment opportunities in urban heritage.

“The four-day National Built Heritage Forum will be launched in Riyadh on April 15,” said Majed Alshadeed, a spokesman for the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), on Thursday, adding that the forum will culminate on April 18, World Heritage Day. World Heritage Day is celebrated every year on April 18 with the aim of preserving the human heritage and recognizing the efforts of the relevant organizations in the field.

Organized by SCTH under the umbrella of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cultural Heritage Program, the 6th forum will encourage private investment to capitalize on the country’s rich urban heritage.

The forum will look at developing business models in the management and development of — and investment in — urban heritage sites, as well as the development of crafts and handicrafts.

The heritage forum is organized each year by the SCTH in a different province in collaboration with the relevant governorates, municipalities and local universities, following the recommendations of the first International Conference for Urban Heritage in the Islamic Countries, which was held in Riyadh in 2010.

The first session of the NUHF was organized in Makkah province, the second in the Eastern Province, the third in Madinah province, the fourth in Asir province and the fifth in Al-Qassim province.

Next year’s forum seeks to invest the expertise, knowledge and experience that the SCTH has gained and transfer it to the four economic sectors working in urban heritage. These sectors are construction, restoration and contracting, site operation, human resources development, and services and industries related to urban heritage.

The forum will include the distribution of prizes to the projects winning the Prince Sultan bin Salman Urban Heritage Awards, exhibitions, scientific sessions, workshops and business meetings with Saudi and international experts and consultants to discuss investment opportunities in urban heritage. There will also be a specialized expo for companies and institutions working in the sectors of the economics of architectural heritage, restoration and engineering consultancy.