A sporting chance to reap the rewards of changing attitudes in Saudi Arabia

The recent growth of women’s sport in Saudi Arabia, and the important role it will play in the future, is one of the areas that has generated a lot of discussion. (AN photo)
Updated 07 June 2018
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A sporting chance to reap the rewards of changing attitudes in Saudi Arabia

  • The sports sector is accompanied by a lot of services to inspire different investors, such as sport abayas and sport fashion, food trucks and productive families: Prince Bandar
  • The workshop discussed a number of problems facing the country’s sports sector

JEDDAH: Experts discussed fresh ways to enjoy the economic benefits of the developing sports sector in Saudi Arabia, particularly to benefit the country’s youth, during a workshop organized by Jeddah Chamber of commerce.

The event, Opportunities for Innovation in the Sports Economy, took place this week as part of the activities accompanying the recent Makkah Economic Forum (MEF).

The speakers included Prince Bandar Al-Saud, the founder and chairman of Crescent Technologies Saudi Arabia; Lina Al-Maeena, a pioneer of women’s sports in the Kingdom and a member of the Shoura Council; and Ziad Jarrar, the founder and chief design officer at design company Taurus.

The recent growth of women’s sport in Saudi Arabia, and the important role it will play in the future, is one of the areas that has generated a lot of discussion.

Al-Maeena is a pioneer in the field of women’s sports, and female empowerment, in the Kingdom. She founded Jeddah United, the country’s first private basketball club for women, in 2003, at a time when there was great opposition to such moves.

“There are historical decisions that took place last year concerning the sports sector for women, which is the crux of Vision 2030, such as allowing sport in girls’ schools... and women to enter stadiums,” said Al-Maeena. “These sports projects contribute to strengthening family bonds.”

The workshop discussed a number of problems facing the country’s sports sector, along with possible solutions and ideas to help overcome obstacles emerging projects might face.

A documentary was screened showing projects and opportunities for targeted investments in the sports sector and how this will boost employment opportunities for Saudi youth.

“The leadership of any country must give a strong impetus to society and everyone should be given a sense of permission to practice various sports, where they affect social and family mobility, and in the future the appropriate infrastructure will be available,” said Jarrar.

Prince Bandar said: “The sports sector is accompanied by a lot of services to inspire different investors, such as sport abayas and sport fashion, food trucks and productive families. The people of Saudi Arabia are aware of the importance of these services.”

The sports sector in the Kingdom is undergoing a huge transformation in a very short period of time as attitudes change, and there are opportunities for women that were unthinkable until recently. Women can now visit and work in sports stadiums, can become sports photographers or even repair bicycles. As the country’s population increases, there are big opportunities for the sports sector to grow and develop.

“I have always struggled trying to spread the sport culture in the Kingdom among young men and girls,” said Al-Maeena. “Every year me and my team used to have games with different teams from around the world and our goal was to convey a positive idea about Saudi, Muslim women.”

Prince Bandar added: “Achievements in the market and success come through a good understanding of the shortage in the market and what the customer needs.”

The workshop was hosted by the Continuing Education Center of the University of Business and Technology, a leading training and career-development center for professionals and executives in a variety of business and management fields. It provides international certified training programs for individuals and companies in Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East.


Forum held for projects on better serving Hajj and Umrah pilgrims

Updated 5 min 47 sec ago
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Forum held for projects on better serving Hajj and Umrah pilgrims

JEDDAH: Under the patronage of the Governor of Jeddah, Prince Mishaal bin Majed, the Hajj and Umrah Ministry organized an explicative forum on Monday for the Jeddah Prize for Creativity 1440H, under the title “Developing our cities for Hajj and Umrah.” The prize comes as part of the third Makkah Cultural Forum, under the slogan “How to set an example.”
The meeting, which was held at the Hilton Hotel, was attended by Deputy Governor of Jeddah Prince Saud bin Abdullah bin Jalawi; Deputy Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Abdul Fattah Mashat; the chairman of the prize advisory committee Dr. Osamah Tayyeb, along with senior officials.
Prince Saud bin Abdullah said all the projects and ideas that the meeting proposed about Hajj and Umrah will be of great importance to the Jeddah governor.
He added that the governorate sought the submission of integrated projects to provide an incorporated industry with a positive impact on the service of pilgrims going to the holy sites through Jeddah.

Rich in knowledge
In his speech, Mashat said Jeddah was the gate to Makkah and the first destination to the holy sites. “Pilgrims feel comfortable when they arrive in Jeddah on their way to the sacred places. Jeddah combines originality, modernity and cultures in a city that is also rich in knowledge.
“A city like this should stick in the memories of pilgrims rather than just being a transit station and this comes in compliance with Vision 2030,” he said.
He added that the model for Hajj and Umrah, which was developed by the prize committee this year, is about the initiatives undertaken by individuals and governmental and nongovernmental entities to improve his ministry’s performance and services targeting pilgrims and Umrah performers.
“This branch of the prize can help generate ideas and initiatives to help us better serve pilgrims in order to ease the process of performing their rituals. The ideas can also help us continually develop our services to meet the pilgrims’ expectations.
“Moreover, they can support us to leave a shining mental image with pilgrims about Saudi Arabia,” he added.
Initiative
Although the Hajj and Umrah Ministry’s main role is to arrange all Hajj and Umrah works and coordinate with all participating government bodies, the ministry never hesitates to adopt any initiative that can help improve its performance.
“Through such initiatives, we are hopeful that we can enrich the experience of pilgrims to the two holy sites,” Mashat told Arab News.
He added that one of their tasks is to facilitate pilgrims’ entry procedures, and not only to work on the guests of Allah’s comfort but also try to make their visit to Saudi Arabia an unforgettable experience.
Mashat said his ministry’s interest in utilizing digital platforms has added much, not only to the Hajj and Umrah Ministry but also to all ministries and entities serving the pilgrims.
He added that they receive pilgrims as guests to the country who should be offered the best possible generosity and magnanimity.