Saudi women travel with friends abroad without mahram

Updated 29 July 2015

Saudi women travel with friends abroad without mahram

ABHA: Several Saudi businesswomen started traveling with a group of friends after recent regulations which allow women to travel without their mahram.
These women said they find great fun to travel as a group with their friends and their children, where they can achieve their goals of travel.
Travel and tourism offices said many Saudi women’s groups prefer to travel to Arab countries such as Dubai, Egypt and Bahrain, and a few women travel to European countries or non-Arab states due to the different habits in non-Arab countries that force some of them to choose countries similar to the Saudi environment.
Um Ali, 30, traveled abroad with friends of the family for shopping in some world cities. But after marriage, her children and husband’s desires changed her plans to travel where they wanted especially to visit museums and scientific places.
Fatma Yahya, a postgraduate student, is keen on traveling abroad to learn cultures of other people and their ways of living. Yahya prefers to visit marine and green places. She clarified that lack of tourism education is the reason behind her reluctance to spend her vacation inside the Kingdom.
Khadija Al-Qahtani, a journalist, said: “Local society changed its outlook toward Saudi women and started respecting them. Saudi women do not have any problem traveling alone abroad as they have succeeded in working in high positions in addition to their contributions to support their families and communities.
"People in the Kingdom cannot criticize women when they travel abroad with their friends as they have the same rights as men, while local society does not criticize women when they travel with their female relatives especially within the Kingdom."
Jibreen Al-Jibreen, an associate professor of social studies at King Saud University, said: “Saudi women can travel abroad with their friends or even travel alone. However, it is normal and must not draw attention.”


Two new academies to boost Saudi arts, heritage and music

Updated 19 August 2019

Two new academies to boost Saudi arts, heritage and music

  • One academy specializing in heritage and traditional arts and crafts will start receiving applications in autumn 2020
  • A second academy dedicated to music will receive 1,000 students and trainees from 2021

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is to set up arts academies, including two in the next two years, offering a step toward academic qualification and enlarging the Kingdom’s footprint in heritage, arts and crafts, and music.

The initiative is part of the Ministry of Culture’s Quality of Life program. 

The minister, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan, said investment in “capacity building” was one of the most important elements in encouraging the cultural sector, which enjoyed unlimited support from King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The Kingdom was rich in diverse arts, talents and artistic production, Prince Badr said, and the academies would be a first step toward academic qualification in the arts within the Kingdom.

One academy specializing in heritage and traditional arts and crafts will start receiving applications in autumn 2020, targeting 1,000 students and trainees in long- and short-term programs. 

A second academy dedicated to music will receive 1,000 students and trainees from 2021.

The music academy in particular will be “the core of music production and talent development in Saudi Arabia,” Saudi musician, composer and producer Mamdouh Saif told Arab News.

The music industry was a large and diverse field, Saif said, and education was crucial. 

“The academy is the right place to launch the music industry in Saudi Arabia, and it will have a significant impact on Saudi youth, and young people in surrounding countries,” he said.

He expects “a very high turnout” for the academy among young Saudis. 

“Due to my expertise in this area, I receive many questions from people who want to learn music, but through private lessons,” he said.

“But the availability of an academy for this purpose, that teaches music in a methodological way, will be the right start for those interested in music.”