55 countries participates in Riyadh Travel Fair
55 countries participates in Riyadh Travel Fair
The annual fair, inaugurated by Hamad Ali Al-Shuweir, vice chairman of the board of directors at the Riyadh Chamber, will run until Friday.
Sheikh Hafeez, sales and marketing director of ASAS Exhibition, the organizer of the event, told Arab News: “This year about 300 exhibitors from 55 countries are participating in the fair, which is a significant annual event where the world’s major travel and tourism companies gather under one roof.”
For the first time, the RTF is hosting the tourism boards of Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. Tanzania and Spain are also making their debut, joining other tourism boards including the Czech Republic, Poland, Bosnia, Greece, Turkey, South Africa, Egypt and Tunisia.
Hafeez said that the RTF 2018 had strong Middle East support, with 60 percent of exhibiting companies from the GCC region, including the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, the Ministry of Tourism Bahrain and Oman Tourism. AN
This year North and South East Asia also feature prominently, with the participation of Japan, South Korea, Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore.
“As we celebrate our 10th anniversary this year, the substantial growth in exhibitors underlines how RTF has firmly established itself as the leading industry event in the Kingdom,” said Hafeez. “The Kingdom’s outbound market continues to attract huge interest and we are delighted to see such levels of growth from various key markets at the show this year,” he said.
The RTF will focus on business networking opportunities, seminars, brainstorming sessions, and recognition of the year’s tourist industry achievements.
It is open to both travel professionals and the public, with visitors having direct access to tourism boards and authorities, as well as hotels, airlines and travel agents.
The fair aims to provide the opportunity for tourist and travel organizations to showcase their programs and activities.
More than 50 national and regional pavilions have a prominent presence, with floor space increasing by 10 percent compared to the 2017 event.
Last year the RTF had 270 exhibitors, with visitor attendance at 27,329. This was an increase of 30 percent compared to the 2016 show.
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.”
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.