New Sri Lankan envoy vows to strengthen ties with KSA

Updated 27 November 2015
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New Sri Lankan envoy vows to strengthen ties with KSA

JEDDAH: The new Sri Lankan ambassador to Saudi Arabia has stressed the importance of improving the island nation’s relationship with Saudi Arabia.
Ambassador Azmi Thassim was speaking during his recent visit to the Sri Lankan International School in Jeddah. “Our country is looking forward to a positive change and it is our duty as citizens to work together to put the country first,” he said. “It is as important to start educating our community back in Sri Lanka that they should understand and respect the laws of Saudi Arabia.”
Thassim decried attacks on the rules and regulations of the Kingdom in the Sri Lankan media.
“This can harm our relationship with Saudi Arabia,” he said. “The problem lies with the lack of awareness of local laws. If someone is not happy with the laws of Kingdom, they should choose not to come.”
“It is essential to educate ourselves and our community about the rules and regulations of a country before we go there,” he said.
“As the ambassador, I wish to work on building rapport between the two countries and keep it going,” said Thassim.
Thassim commended the relationship because of its contribution to the Sri Lankan foreign exchange.
He lauded the efforts of all those who contributed in bringing the community school to a professional level and praised the young talents of the students. He emphasized the importance of public speaking initiative, which is one of the main extra-curricular activities at the school.
He encouraged volunteerism and said that majority of the work must come from those who are willing to contribute as volunteers, "whether it is to develop the school, community or the country."
The ambassador urged parents to put forward their views and requested them to keep him informed of all affairs in the school.
“It is essential that we work as a team; from the embassy to the consulate general to the school and other volunteers in order to develop our younger generation to be leaders of the future,” he said.
The welcome reception for Thassim was hosted by SLISJ’s board of management.
Mohamed Ilyas, the SLISJ chairman, highlighted the improvement in the school’s academic standard. He stated that the management sorted out the issue of insufficient accommodation for the new students by expanding the school premises.
The chairman expressed gratitude to the ambassador for his time and the parents and teachers for their support.
“The school focuses on promoting a high level of learning culture,” said Basheer Rizvi, the school principal. “As long as we have a dedicated team aiming for the same goal, everything can be achieved.”


Saudi Commission for Tourism completes training for Hajj guides

Muslim worshippers perform prayers around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Makkah on August 15, 2018, prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city. (AFP)
Updated 17 August 2018
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Saudi Commission for Tourism completes training for Hajj guides

  • A license takes any traditional work to a professional level, and hosting pilgrims must be included in this initiative, as part of Vision 2030
  • We must look at tourism as an industry through which we present our vision, our goals and our ambitions

MAKKH: In a breakthrough initiative for Tawafa institutions, the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) has completed the training of 135 male and female Tawafa guides — religious guides for Hajj pilgrims — who have obtained tour guide licenses.
The training is the first step in a program that will enable national Tawafa establishments to obtain tour guide licenses. The ceremony for the first of the tour guides to graduate from the training course took place in Makkah on Tuesday, at the National Tawafa Establishment for Pilgrims of Arab Countries (ARBHAJ).
SCTH Director-General Dr. Hisham bin Mohammed Madani said the commission has honored more than 135 male and female “Mutawwifs,” or guides, from ARBHAJ under the partnership between the SCTH and the ARBHAJ to train Tawafa guides to obtain tour guide licenses.
Madani said this is the first phase of an initiative to train guides at all Tawafa establishments, introducing pilgrims to a new concept by helping them visit all historical and archaeological sites and museums in Makkah after performing Hajj rituals.
“Tour guides are more and more dynamic and effective in the tourism industry, and have become an important and effective source of historical information,” he said and added that the tour guide now also functions as an ambassador for the authentic culture of the Kingdom, reflecting its cultural, natural and historical heritage.
Licensing Tawaf guides as tour guides, Madani said, will enrich the tourist experience in the holy capital.
The SCTH chief noted that the city is rich with myriad cultural treasures that need someone to showcase them for tourists.
“We at SCTH presented our experience in qualifying accredited tour guides and we look forward to improving tourism outputs to match the reality and requirements of the new phase,” he said. “In order to reach this goal, we are collaborating with all partners to reach satisfactory results to deal with all nationalities, tongues and cultural backgrounds from all parts of the world with satisfaction, love and positivity.”
“We must look at tourism as an industry through which we present our vision, our goals and our ambitions. Makkah is the holy city that every Muslim looks forward to visiting after hearing about its great heritage. Our role is to provide knowledge and keep abreast of the tourist vision by qualifying and training tour guides, equipping them with the necessary skills and qualifications and honing their skills through required training programs. To this end, all partners must join their efforts and collaborate together to reach the desired goals.”

Initiative
Dr. Abdul Fattah bin Suleiman Mashat, deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah, said that the ministry is implementing an initiative to provide a professional license for everyone working at Hajj, not just in Tawaf.
He said: “A license takes any traditional work to a professional level, and hosting pilgrims must be included in this initiative, as part of Vision 2030, to focus on enriching the pilgrims’ experience, and not only on increasing their numbers.”
Mashat said it was important for pilgrims’ journeys to be coupled with trips to historical and archaeological sites. “We rely on male and female Tawaf guides to organize well-thought-out trips for the pilgrims so that they can enjoy all the historical and archaeological sites and landmarks in Makkah,” he added.