Growth in religious tourism plays key role in KSA’s post oil plan

INCREASED CAPACITY: Reports show that the number of people visiting Makkah to perform Haj is increasing year by year, estimating the growth from 12 million in 2012 to almost 17 million by 2025.
Updated 20 August 2016
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Growth in religious tourism plays key role in KSA’s post oil plan

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s new post-oil economy plan as outlined in Vision 2030, which was announced recently, is receiving a huge boost from the tourism sector with the influx of tourists visiting the Kingdom for their Haj pilgrimage, starting this week. According to the Ministry of Haj and Umrah, more than 600,000 pilgrims are expected to arrive in Madinah this week before Haj.

Among the initiatives outlined in the Vision 2030 is to increase the number of Haj and Umrah pilgrims to 30 million annually. Reports show that the number of people visiting Makkah to perform Haj is increasing year by year, estimating the growth from 12 million in 2012 to almost 17 million by 2025, further strengthening the religious tourism sector’s contribution to the national economy. At present, the segment concerning tourism for religious purposes contributes up to three per cent in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Ziyad bin Mahfouz, CEO, Elaf Group, said: “The continued growth in religious tourism is a positive development that signals that the Kingdom is on the right track in its national economic plan. Religious tourism will significantly contribute to the country’s shift towards the post oil era. There is a huge room for growth in tourism, not only for religious pilgrimages.”
Industry data shows that Saudi Arabia has the most rooms under construction for hotel development in the region with 35,770 rooms in 81 hotels, with 24,133 rooms being constructed in Makkah alone.
“In line with our commitments to support the tourism sector, especially the segment of tourism for religious purposes and the Kingdom’s national economy, we are providing a wide range of services to facilitate and guarantee a comfortable stay in our hotels in Makkah and Madinah while performing Haj. Our hotels have been equipped with the latest facilities to accommodate Haj performers where they will enjoy both a relaxing and a religious ambience throughout their stay,” Mahfouz added.
“We continue to innovate with our service offerings for our guests such as extended and all-inclusive packages for all our hotels in Saudi Arabia, so that they can explore other parts of the country before or after their Haj or Umrah performance,” he concluded.


Saudi Arabia plans to introduce Chinese into the curriculum at all education levels

Updated 7 min 16 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia plans to introduce Chinese into the curriculum at all education levels

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia and China on Friday agreed to include the Chinese language as a curriculum at all stages of education in schools and universities across the Kingdom.
The agreement came during a meeting between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and a high-level Chinese delegation in the capital Beijing, in a bid to strengthen bilateral friendship and cooperation and deepen the strategic partnership at all levels between both countries.
The move aims to enable a comprehensive strategic partnership to achieve the aspirations of the Saudi and Chinese leaderships and seize the promising opportunities between their two peoples, a relationship which has extended for decades.
The inclusion of the Chinese language will enhance the cultural diversity of students in the Kingdom and contribute to the achievement of the future national goals in the field of education for the Vision 2030.
The introduction of Chinese into the curriculum is an important step toward opening new academic horizons for students of various educational levels in the Kingdom.
Learning Chinese will serve as a bridge between the two peoples and would contribute to increasing trade and cultural ties.