Complete plans in 90 days to facilitate Saudi cinema launch

Saudis will soon be able to visit cinemas across the Kingdom. (REUTERS)
Updated 15 January 2018
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Complete plans in 90 days to facilitate Saudi cinema launch

RIYADH: The General Commission for Audiovisual Media (GCAM) on Thursday held a meeting headed by the chairman of the committee, Reda bin Mohammed Al-Haidar, with a number of government authorities.
The meeting was to prepare regulations and set the framework for the GCAM in preparation for the opening of cinemas in Saudi Arabia.
Abdullah Al-Shamlani, the official spokesperson for the GCAM, told Arab News: “We are still working with government officials and private companies. In 90 days, we will have the details. The meetings, thus far have been very productive.”
Al-Haidar stressed that the goal of the meeting was to discuss the executive plan and requirements of the parties to launch a cinema that corresponds with national values through meaningful content that is consistent with Sharia and will preserve the ethical values of the Kingdom.
Al-Haidar explained that the authority will continue to hold similar meetings with government authorities at its headquarters in Riyadh until the issuance of the list of theaters.
The board of directors of the GCAM, chaired by Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Awad Al-Awad, on Dec. 11 had approved the issuance of licenses for those wishing to open cinemas, with the goal of promoting cultural and media development.
The opening of cinemas will stimulate economic growth, and provide jobs and various career opportunities in new areas.
Ever since Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture and Information announced that commercial cinemas will be allowed to operate in the Kingdom as of early 2018, there have been questions regarding when, where and what regulations will be applied.
After 35 years, Saudi Arabia will reopen cinemas in the country. The announcement opens up a domestic market of more than 32 million people and it is forecast that by 2030, Saudi Arabia will be home to more than 300 cinemas, according to the board of the GCAM.


Saudi Commission for Tourism completes training for Hajj guides

Muslim worshippers perform prayers around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Makkah on August 15, 2018, prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city. (AFP)
Updated 17 August 2018
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Saudi Commission for Tourism completes training for Hajj guides

  • A license takes any traditional work to a professional level, and hosting pilgrims must be included in this initiative, as part of Vision 2030
  • We must look at tourism as an industry through which we present our vision, our goals and our ambitions

MAKKH: In a breakthrough initiative for Tawafa institutions, the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) has completed the training of 135 male and female Tawafa guides — religious guides for Hajj pilgrims — who have obtained tour guide licenses.
The training is the first step in a program that will enable national Tawafa establishments to obtain tour guide licenses. The ceremony for the first of the tour guides to graduate from the training course took place in Makkah on Tuesday, at the National Tawafa Establishment for Pilgrims of Arab Countries (ARBHAJ).
SCTH Director-General Dr. Hisham bin Mohammed Madani said the commission has honored more than 135 male and female “Mutawwifs,” or guides, from ARBHAJ under the partnership between the SCTH and the ARBHAJ to train Tawafa guides to obtain tour guide licenses.
Madani said this is the first phase of an initiative to train guides at all Tawafa establishments, introducing pilgrims to a new concept by helping them visit all historical and archaeological sites and museums in Makkah after performing Hajj rituals.
“Tour guides are more and more dynamic and effective in the tourism industry, and have become an important and effective source of historical information,” he said and added that the tour guide now also functions as an ambassador for the authentic culture of the Kingdom, reflecting its cultural, natural and historical heritage.
Licensing Tawaf guides as tour guides, Madani said, will enrich the tourist experience in the holy capital.
The SCTH chief noted that the city is rich with myriad cultural treasures that need someone to showcase them for tourists.
“We at SCTH presented our experience in qualifying accredited tour guides and we look forward to improving tourism outputs to match the reality and requirements of the new phase,” he said. “In order to reach this goal, we are collaborating with all partners to reach satisfactory results to deal with all nationalities, tongues and cultural backgrounds from all parts of the world with satisfaction, love and positivity.”
“We must look at tourism as an industry through which we present our vision, our goals and our ambitions. Makkah is the holy city that every Muslim looks forward to visiting after hearing about its great heritage. Our role is to provide knowledge and keep abreast of the tourist vision by qualifying and training tour guides, equipping them with the necessary skills and qualifications and honing their skills through required training programs. To this end, all partners must join their efforts and collaborate together to reach the desired goals.”

Initiative
Dr. Abdul Fattah bin Suleiman Mashat, deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah, said that the ministry is implementing an initiative to provide a professional license for everyone working at Hajj, not just in Tawaf.
He said: “A license takes any traditional work to a professional level, and hosting pilgrims must be included in this initiative, as part of Vision 2030, to focus on enriching the pilgrims’ experience, and not only on increasing their numbers.”
Mashat said it was important for pilgrims’ journeys to be coupled with trips to historical and archaeological sites. “We rely on male and female Tawaf guides to organize well-thought-out trips for the pilgrims so that they can enjoy all the historical and archaeological sites and landmarks in Makkah,” he added.