China advises its tourists to avoid Maldives until political tensions ease

Opposition supporters protest against the government's delay in releasing their jailed leaders, including former Maldives resident Mohamed Nasheed, despite a Supreme Court order, in Male on February 4. (Reuters)
Updated 05 February 2018
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China advises its tourists to avoid Maldives until political tensions ease

BEIJING: China’s foreign ministry on Monday advised Chinese citizens to avoid visiting the Maldives until political tensions subside on the Indian Ocean archipelago.
A tropical paradise for holidaymakers, the Maldives has been beset by fractious politics for years, but concern over potential instability heightened after its attorney-general warned on Sunday that the government would resist any attempt by the Supreme Court to impeach President Abdulla Yameen for disobeying its order to free jailed opposition leaders.
“China suggests that Chinese citizens who are preparing to go to the Maldives in the near term to postpone going until the situation on the ground stabilizes,” Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told a regular briefing, noting that the upcoming Chinese New Year was a peak period for Chinese tourists to visit the Maldives.
Geng said that China supports the resolution of differences between all relevant sides in the Maldives through dialogue and consultation to protect its national and social stability.
The Chinese embassy to the Maldives on Friday issued a travel warning urging Chinese citizens to be cautious when traveling to the country, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
Mohamed Anil, attorney general of the Maldives, said on Sunday that the government had received information that the Supreme Court was preparing to fire Yameen, but such a move would be illegal and the police and army had been instructed not to carry out such an order.
Yameen has fired two police chiefs since Thursday, when the Supreme Court threw out terrorism convictions against former president Mohamed Nasheed and eight other opposition figures. Police had indicated they would enforce the ruling.
In power since 2013 and facing elections in October, Yameen is under international pressure to heed the court decision, while hundreds of protesters have taken to the country’s streets to demand compliance with the order.
President Yameen’s government has had good relations with China and a free trade agreement between the two countries was signed in December, despite criticism from the opposition.
China has been striking deals with countries in Asia and Africa in line with its “belt and road initiative” to improve imports of key commodities, upgrade infrastructure and trade routes in the region and boost its diplomatic clout.


Saudi tourism body considers funds for 6 tourism projects worth SR71 million

The funds will go toward developing a range of plans across the hospitality sector, including hotels, conference centers, infrastructure and tourist resorts. (SPA)
Updated 17 April 2019
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Saudi tourism body considers funds for 6 tourism projects worth SR71 million

  • Saudi Arabia’s vision on the tourism sector is based on its basic values and culture in the first place, followed by the economic importance and regional and international weight it enjoys

RIYADH: The Saudi Commission of Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) has announced plans to fund 33 new tourism projects across the Kingdom, as part of a lending initiative to aid the sector in underdeveloped Saudi regions.
Abdul Majid bin Abdul Mohsen Al-Nasser, the SCTH’s director general of tourism investment, said that the initiative, in partnership with the Ministry of Finance, approved proposals for 33 projects at a cost of more than SR1,100 billion ($294 million).
Al-Nasser added that a joint committee formed by the SCTH and the ministry was also studying funding for six other projects worth an additional SR71 million.
The funds will go toward developing a range of plans across the hospitality sector, including hotels, conference centers, infrastructure and tourist resorts. The hope is that, as well as highlighting the many attractions on offer in less-heralded parts of the country, the initiative will also lead to an upswing in job creation.
Saudi Arabia’s vision on the tourism sector is based on its basic values and culture in the first place, followed by the economic importance and regional and international weight it enjoys, as well as its value-based interaction with other communities.
Earlier this month, SCTH undertook registration of 1,127 artifacts and relics that it successfully managed to restore from America, in coordination with the Saudi Foreign Ministry. Some of the items recovered date back to prehistoric times.
The director-general of archiving and protecting antiquities at SCTH, Naif Al-Qannour, said the commission had stepped up its efforts to recover national treasures from inside and outside the Kingdom.
Al-Qannour added that many of the objects had been voluntarily handed over to the Kingdom by relatives of US citizens who worked in Saudi Arabia during the 1960s.