Saudi treasures give Japan a glimpse of ancient Arabia

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Visitors look at the rare archaeological treasures from Saudi Arabia’s past that have gone on display at the Tokyo National Museum. (SPA)
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Visitors read about the rare archaeological treasures from Saudi Arabia’s past that have gone on display at the Tokyo National Museum. (SPA)
Updated 09 February 2018
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Saudi treasures give Japan a glimpse of ancient Arabia

TOKYO: Rare archaeological treasures from Saudi Arabia’s past have gone on display at the Tokyo National Museum, giving visitors a unique insight into the Kingdom’s rich and varied history.
The traveling exhibition, “Roads of Arabia: Archaeological treasures of Saudi Arabia through the Ages,” has been organized by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), and has previously visited Dhahran and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, four European countries, the US, China and South Korea.
About 460 artefacts are on display, spanning more than one million years from the Paleolithic era to the establishment of the modern Saudi state.
The Saudi ambassador to Japan, Ahmed Al-Barrak, opened the exhibition on Monday on the behalf of Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the SCTH.
Visitors to the exhibition said the relics reflected the Kingdom’s religious, economic and political importance.
Ivano Herosheed said: “The exhibition is introducing Japanese people to Saudi Arabia’s history and culture. I will be the first to visit the archaeological sites when they open in the Kingdom.”
“By visiting the exhibition, I learned that the Kingdom has a long and rich history,” said Masi Masaychi. “Preserving these archaeological pieces is such a wonderful thing.”
He said that the resemblance of many relics to Egyptian antiques showed that Arab cultures and civilizations are all connected.


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.