Saudi tourism chief: Japanese people interested in learning ‘world’s cultures’

Prince Sultan bin Salman visits the “Roads of Arabia” exhibition in Tokyo. (SPA)
Updated 10 May 2018
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Saudi tourism chief: Japanese people interested in learning ‘world’s cultures’

  • Naruhito welcomed Prince Sultan and expressed appreciation for the role played by the Kingdom at regional and international levels
  • Prince Sultan also visited the “Roads of Arabia” exhibition at the National Museum in Tokyo

JEDDAH: Japan’s Crown Prince Naruhito received Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), at his palace in Tokyo on Thursday.

Naruhito welcomed Prince Sultan and expressed appreciation for the role played by the Kingdom at regional and international levels.

Prince Sultan conveyed the greetings of King Salman to the leadership of Japan, wishing the Japanese people progress and prosperity, and expressing keenness to consolidate bilateral relations between the two countries.

Prince Sultan also visited the “Roads of Arabia” exhibition at the National Museum in Tokyo. He said that King Salman has been supporting the archaeology sector in the Kingdom since its establishment 50 years ago.

Prince Sultan said that more than 250,000 people had visited, the largest turnout for any touring exhibition at the museum.

The exhibition’s next stop will be in Greece, in the middle of summer, following an invitation from Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos during his visit to the Kingdom.

The exhibition will also visit Abu Dhabi, at the invitation of the UAE government, before moving on more countries.

Prince Sultan said that Japanese people were very cultivated, aware and interested in learning about the world’s cultures, and those of the Arabian Peninsula in particular.

He said that the SCTH is currently working on more than 230 tourist and heritage projects and is coordinating with its partners on transport services and airports.

The Kingdom had been supporting and developing the tourist sector with billions of dollars, he said, in line with the strategy of developing national tourism advanced by the SCTH and adopted by the state in 2005.

Prince Sultan said that the Kingdom was experiencing high tourist growth and was considered one of the fastest-growing states in the region in hotel room numbers, which had increased by 6,000. This figure is expected to double in the next 10 years, he said.

 


Lost Children’s Care Center helps to reunite families

Updated 11 min 52 sec ago
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Lost Children’s Care Center helps to reunite families

  • 11 children of different nationalities and ages were reported to the Lost Children’s Care Center since the start of Hajj
  • Many pilgrims opt to bring their children with them for educational purposes or out of necessity

MINA: Pilgrims, like all parents, closely look after their children, but sometimes worshippers lose their offspring during Hajj due to the large crowds of people at the holy sites.

Many pilgrims opt to bring their children with them for educational purposes or out of necessity, especially with younger ones. However, some 11 of these youngsters were lost in Mina over the past two days of the Hajj.

While interviewing Lina Abu Zinada, a supervisor at the Lost Children’s Care Center at the holy sites, in the afternoon, a female pilgrim from Comoros was weeping over losing her ten-year-old child who had been reported lost since morning. The woman also lost her husband while they both were praying at a nearby mosque.

“This pilgrim has lost her child and we are doing our best to find him. She wanted to be taken to a police station as she thought that she could be safer there. We succeeded in calming her down. After a few hours, members of her country’s embassy came and took her to another place,” she said. 

Security men, boy scouts and even volunteers bring them lost children. “Once we receive a lost child, we first take all the details from the person bringing the lost child,” Abu Zinada told Arab News.

“We then document the information and descriptions of the lost child and forward them to our field agents along with the information of the person who brought the lost child. When someone loses a child, all that he or she can do is to reach a security man or anyone who takes them to our field workers. The latter immediately check with us to see if the information is the same,” Abu Zinada said.  

She said that their office had received 11 lost children of different nationalities and ages since this year’s Hajj started. “We managed to help 10 of these children find their parents,” she said. “We feed the network of guidance centers with all information about the lost children so that they can easily inform their parents that they are found and sent to the Lost Children’s Care Center.”

She said that all lost children are taken to their center, whether these children were found in Arafat, Mina or Muzdalifah.

Abu Zinada said that some of the children arrive at their office in such a hysterical state that they refuse to leave the person who brought them in.

“Some others accept the situation and respond to our information inquiry,” she said. She added that the youngest lost child they had found was five years old, while the oldest one was 12. The majority of the lost children were from Africa, she said.

“We have some of our team members who can communicate with the children in different languages beside Arabic. These languages are English, Urdu and French,” she said. She added that they sometimes seek the assistance of street cleaners to help them speak with the lost child.