Janadriyah festival showcases Saudi Arabia’s rich heritage

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Updated 09 February 2018
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Janadriyah festival showcases Saudi Arabia’s rich heritage

RIYADH: Janadriyah, the annual national heritage and culture festival named after the village on the northern outskirts of Riyadh, is busy celebrating the Saudi lifestyle as well as symbols of its identity, unity and integrity.
Inaugurated by King Salman on Wednesday with the traditional camel race and operetta marking the opening ceremony, the 18-day festival encourages Saudis to celebrate their heritage and to bolster cultural exchange.
This year the festival has launched a free application for smartphones, called “Janadriyah,” to guide visitors around the event and keep them updated on entertainment and cultural programs.
The app’s sections include: Learning about the festival, information on cultural activities and visits to Janadriyah, the Janadriyah newsletter, a Janadriyah festival map, information on parking, and a section for feedback (suggestions or complaints) and help contact details.
Every year the festival attracts a remarkable turnout of local and expatriate visitors, including school children and families, as well as visitors from outside the Kingdom.
The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) sets up a special pavilion as a tourism and heritage oasis with sections for children, visual shows, interactive screens, social media screens and tourism and heritage projects of the SCTH.
In its permanent pavilion based in Eastern Province House (Bayt Al-Sharqiyah), Saudi Aramco will also showcase an open exhibition at Janadriyah, featuring a maquette of Well No. 7, also known as the “prosperity well.”
The exhibition includes a number of legacy images which convey the story of discovering and developing the world’s largest energy reserves. The well’s oil discovery dates back to 1938.
The pavilion presents documentaries as well as old and modern photographs showing how the company’s operations have progressed since the early 1940s to date. The pictures will illustrate the stages of such developments, from exploration, drilling, production, refining and training to HR development in the company.
Organizers expect millions of visitors from Saudi Arabia and abroad.
The festival is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m and the first five days, from Feb. 7 to 11, are reserved for male visitors only. Women and families will be allowed to visit from Feb. 12 to 24.


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.