Two senior ministers join Sri Lankan Haj pilgrims

Faizer Mackeen
Updated 30 August 2016
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Two senior ministers join Sri Lankan Haj pilgrims

RIYADH: Two senior ministers from Colombo will join Sri Lankan pilgrims during this Haj, the island’s consul general, Faizer Mackeen, told Arab News on Monday.
The VIP delegation will include Mohamed Hashim Abdul Haleem, Muslim religious affairs and posts; State Minister Abdul Hameed Mohamed Fowzie; and legislator Mujibur Rahman.
Of the 2,240, the diplomat said, half of the Sri Lankan Haj pilgrims have arrived already in the holy cities.
The island’s national carrier, SriLankan Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines and other carriers, are ferrying the pilgrims from Colombo.
During the arrival of the first group of pilgrims, Sri Lankan Ambassador Azmi Thassim, Consul General Faizer Mackeen and senior diplomats welcomed the pilgrims.
“This year, we had a limited quota because of the ongoing development works in Makkah,” Mackeen noted. The consulate has deployed a team at the Haj terminal of the Jeddah airport to welcome Sri Lankan pilgrims, he added. The officials offer refreshments to pilgrims on arrival, and attend to their needs until they leave for the holy cities.
Four teams have been formed in Makkah, Jeddah, Mina and Madinah to assist the pilgrims. In addition to the mission’s staff, the diplomat said that he had solicited the cooperation of volunteers, who will help the pilgrims in Makkah, Madinah and at the Haj terminal. “A medical team has also arrived with the pilgrims to look after their health needs.”
“The Saudi government, in cooperation with Colombo, has introduced new software to the system to streamline all Lankan Haj activities,” he said, adding that pilgrims’ movements will be monitored and the travel agents held responsible if anything untoward happens to the pilgrims.
He pointed out that due to the limited number this year, the first timers were given preference in the pilgrim selection process, and the government has stipulated the minimum cost for each pilgrim, which should include airfare, accommodations and internal travel. Travel operators who try to exploit the pilgrims will be severely dealt with by the government in Colombo.


Riyadh to host forum to observe World Heritage Day next year

Riyadh hosts the sixth National Urban Heritage Forum in April with its focus on investment opportunities in the urban heritage. (Reuters)
Updated 19 October 2018
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Riyadh to host forum to observe World Heritage Day next year

  • Forum will encourage private investment to capitalize on the country’s rich urban heritage
  • Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage hosts the forum each year in a different part of the Kingdom

RIYADH: The Saudi capital will host the sixth National Urban Heritage Forum (NUHF) next April to coincide with World Heritage Day, with its focus on investment opportunities in urban heritage.

“The four-day National Built Heritage Forum will be launched in Riyadh on April 15,” said Majed Alshadeed, a spokesman for the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), on Thursday, adding that the forum will culminate on April 18, World Heritage Day. World Heritage Day is celebrated every year on April 18 with the aim of preserving the human heritage and recognizing the efforts of the relevant organizations in the field.

Organized by SCTH under the umbrella of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cultural Heritage Program, the 6th forum will encourage private investment to capitalize on the country’s rich urban heritage.

The forum will look at developing business models in the management and development of — and investment in — urban heritage sites, as well as the development of crafts and handicrafts.

The heritage forum is organized each year by the SCTH in a different province in collaboration with the relevant governorates, municipalities and local universities, following the recommendations of the first International Conference for Urban Heritage in the Islamic Countries, which was held in Riyadh in 2010.

The first session of the NUHF was organized in Makkah province, the second in the Eastern Province, the third in Madinah province, the fourth in Asir province and the fifth in Al-Qassim province.

Next year’s forum seeks to invest the expertise, knowledge and experience that the SCTH has gained and transfer it to the four economic sectors working in urban heritage. These sectors are construction, restoration and contracting, site operation, human resources development, and services and industries related to urban heritage.

The forum will include the distribution of prizes to the projects winning the Prince Sultan bin Salman Urban Heritage Awards, exhibitions, scientific sessions, workshops and business meetings with Saudi and international experts and consultants to discuss investment opportunities in urban heritage. There will also be a specialized expo for companies and institutions working in the sectors of the economics of architectural heritage, restoration and engineering consultancy.