More strikes as Houthis pay the price for rejecting Riyadh conference demands

Updated 22 May 2015

More strikes as Houthis pay the price for rejecting Riyadh conference demands

JEDDAH: Saudi-led coalition planes struck several Houthi locations on Thursday that were being used to launch operations on civilians.
Sources said the strikes covered areas in Taaz, including Cairo Castle, and positions in Dalie. The attacks come in the wake of Houthi chief Abdul Malik Al-Houthi rejecting decisions taken at a conference in Riyadh and continuing hostilities.
The coalition forces had earlier hit weapons stores on Jabal Naqm in Sanaa and columns of supplies and rebels on their way to Taaz, Aden and Dalie, said the sources. According to reports, the coalition planes had dropped warning leaflets to warn people to keep away from these sites.
The Houthi leader had earlier criticized the gathering of Yemen’s leaders in Riyadh, accusing them of worsening internal strife in the country. He claimed he was defending the Yemeni people.
Meanwhile, spokesman of the Border Guard Maj. Gen. Muhammed Al-Ghamdi said the Kingdom’s army has secured the country’s border areas. People living there were going about their daily business without fear. All attempts at attacking cities have been thwarted, he said. He said the death of Pvt. Hassan Somaili on Wednesday has inspired other soldiers to defend the borders with added vigor. He said soldiers are killed every year during encounters with smugglers or terrorists.
He said 4,154 unarmed infiltrators were arrested last month. There were also 331 people arrested, of five nationalities, who attempted to leave the Kingdom.
The Border Guard recently seized 815 weapons and 10,485 rounds of ammunition, more than 260,000 narcotic pills, 227 kg of hashish and 179 tons of qat.

Saudi rural tourism recovers after months of forced isolation

Updated 11 July 2020

Saudi rural tourism recovers after months of forced isolation

  • Saudis turn to domestic traveling and flock to their nation’s cooler cities and rural areas

TAIF: As Saudi citizens turn to domestic tourism in the country’s summer resorts, adapting to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, rural areas have become targeted by local tourists wishing to get away from the soaring temperatures in most of the Kingdom’s cities.

Visitors are now choosing cold Saudi cities instead of Europe, which they are accustomed to visiting, such as Taif, Al-Baha, and Abha.

COVID-19 has postponed all plans to travel abroad, and attention has now focused on domestic tourism amid strict health protocols in parks, gardens and recreational areas.

Walid Al-Hamidi, vice president of the Tourism Development Council, confirmed to Arab News that Asir, with its facilities and attractions, was ready to receive summer visitors from across the country.

He said that under the directives of Asir's governor, who supervises all activities and events directly and constantly, many committees had been formed to prepare a successful summer tourism season, to optimize the opportunity and allow people to enjoy the exceptional ambiance of Asir.

“A comprehensive tourism plan was set up two years ago, which resulted in a successful Al-Soudah Season with the support of Asir’s Investment Authority,” Al-Hamidi added.

He noted that Asir’s directives aimed this year to build an exceptional tourism model that meets optimal health standards in dealing with COVID-19.

The model is supported by the “Nashama Asir” team — consisting of 4,000 volunteers — who have been trained for months and have all the necessary skills to make the season successful. Their work will continue until the end of the pandemic and throughout the summer.

“Everyone is ready at public facilities, gardens and parks, to serve tourists,” he said, adding “tourists coming from all the over the Kingdom will be welcomed with smiles, enhanced services, and warm welcomes.”

Dr. Sami Al-Obaidi, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Taif, told Arab News that the tourism sector was the economic backbone of any country or city.

He said that Taif was considered one of the most important tourist cities, given its many attractions  that made it top of any list of places to visit in the Kingdom.

“Suspending travel abroad, and limiting tourism … due to the coronavirus pandemic, makes us, as officials and citizens in Taif, well placed for a beautiful and safe tourism season for Taif’s citizens and visitors,” said Al-Obaidi.

“Meetings are held around the clock, headed by Saad Al-Maimouni, the governor of Taif, with the participation of the relevant authorities.”

He expected all sectors, especially tourism, hospitality and a few other businesses in Taif, to recover to some extent during this season, especially now tourists have already started flocking to the region, with numbers set to increase over the coming weeks.