Vision 2030 introduced ‘unprecedented developments’ to pilgrimage

Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud bin Naif, interior minister congratulated King Salman on the success of this year’s Hajj. (SPA)
Updated 25 August 2018
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Vision 2030 introduced ‘unprecedented developments’ to pilgrimage

  • More than 18,000 buses had been in service during the Hajj season

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Hajj and Umrah Mohammed Salih Bentin said that his sector has witnessed “unprecedented developments” recently through the adoption of “advanced technology to improve performance, transparency and quality.”
He credited Vision 2030 as the driving force behind these developments, which include — he said — a shift in work culture so that providing Hajj- and Umrah-related services is now seen as a task that needs year-round, rather than seasonal, attention.
Bentin added that the continued support and guidance of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had led the way as they worked tirelessly to serve pilgrims.
He said that the government of King Salman has carried out the largest expansion in the history of the two holy cities, thus increasing the number of pilgrims able to come from around the world to perform their rituals in safety and comfort.
He went on to urge all ministry employees to double their efforts in the service of pilgrims and fulfill the desires of the Kingdom’s wise leadership.

Interior Ministry
Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud bin Naif, interior minister and chairman of the Supreme Hajj Committee, congratulated King Salman on the success of this year’s Hajj season.
He congratulated the king on behalf of committee members, regional governors, and personnel of the Interior Ministry and all relevant sectors in this Hajj season.
The success is due to projects implemented at the holy sites to serve pilgrims and facilitate their performance of Hajj rituals, the prince said.
The number of pilgrims this year reached 2,371,675, with no incidence of disease epidemics or quarantine cases recorded, he added.

Environmental Ministry
Environment, Water and Agriculture Minister Abdul Rahman bin Abdul Mohsen Al-Fadhli announced the success of the operational plan for this year’s Hajj season in Makkah and the holy sites.
The ministry’s operational plan included the agricultural and livestock sectors, the Saudi Grains Organization (SAGO), the water production and distribution sectors represented by the Saline Water Conversion Corp. (SWCC) and the National Water Co. (NWC), and the environmental sector represented by the General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental Protection (PME).
The water production and distribution sectors increased supplies to Makkah and the holy sites during peak times compared to last year, Al-Fadhli said.
Some 40 million cubic meters of water have been pumped to the holy sites and Makkah since July 14, and more than 3,500 employees worked to distribute water, he added.
The ministry’s veterinarians examined more than 2 million cattle that entered Makkah and the holy sites during this year’s Hajj season and were free of infectious diseases, he said.
The PME “has mustered all its resources during the Hajj season to monitor the weather and provide forecasts through satellites and direct radar, supervised by seven inspection teams,” Al-Fadhli said.

Transport Ministry
Minister of Transport Dr. Nabil bin Mohammed Al-Amoudi also praised the efforts of all employees of the transportation system’s various sectors who managed to ensure that the more than 2.3 million pilgrims were provided with excellent services.
He noted that the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), in coordination with the government and private bodies working at the airports, had overseen the successful management of the arrival of more than 3,800 pilgrims per hour at the Halls of Hajj and Umrah at King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah, and the departure of around 3,500 per hour.
Al-Amoudi claimed that it had taken a maximum of 25 minutes to process each pilgrim through immigration at the Jeddah and Madinah airports.
More than 18,000 buses had been in service during the Hajj season, he said, transporting pilgrims in comfort and safety between the holy sites. He added that the Al-Mashaaer Al-Mugaddassah Metro — overseen by the Public Transport Authority (PTA) along with the Makkah Region Development Authority — was a great success.
Al-Amoudi said the 450-kilometer Haramain rail service linking Makkah and Madinah with a top speed of more than 300 kmph will be operational by next year’s Hajj season.


Major boost for Al-Jouf as Saudi king set to announce new city

King Salman arrived in Al-Jouf on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 21 November 2018
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Major boost for Al-Jouf as Saudi king set to announce new city

  • The king will launch Waad Al-Shamaal, a new city aimed at boosting the country’s mining infrastructure

JEDDAH: Projects worth several billion riyals are to be unveiled by Saudi Arabia’s king this week as he continues his tour of the country’s regions.
King Salman arrived in the province of Al-Jouf on Tuesday night where he will announce the construction of a new city, bolstering the local economy and creating thousands of jobs in Saudi Arabia’s most northern region.
On Thursday, the king will launch Waad Al-Shamaal, a new city aimed at boosting the country’s mining infrastructure, the Saudi Press Agency reported. 
He will lay the foundation stone for the first phase of the SR85 billion ($22 billion) city in Toriaf province — worth SR55 billion —  and is also set to inaugurate the projects and facilities of the second phase — worth SR30 billion.
In the past two months the king has visited a number of major cities, announcing projects and initiatives to develop the Kingdom inline with Vision 2030 — a broad strategic plan to diversify the economy and end dependence on oil revenues.
Before arriving in Al-Jouf, King Salman visited Tabuk, where several projects worth more than SR11 billion were launched.
He also met the team heading Amaala, the ultra-luxurious tourist destination that was unveiled in September and dubbed the “Riviera of the Middle East,” and was briefed on plans for the new attraction.
King Salman praised Amaala’s objectives to contribute to promoting economic diversification, creating investment opportunities for the private sector, and developing the tourism sector in Saudi Arabia while preserving the cultural and environmental heritage.
Meanwhile, the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) announced yet another major project in western Saudi Arabia.
Wadi Al-Disah Development Project, which is expected to become one of the Kingdom’s most environmentally diverse tourist attractions, adds to a number of already launched ventures on western coastal regions.
PIF will establish a company to develop Wadi Al-Disah in accordance with international best practices regarding environmental conservation and sustainable development.
In addition to this week’s tour, the king has so far visited Madinah, Qassim and Hail.