13,321 Filipinos cast ballots in KSA

Updated 16 May 2013

13,321 Filipinos cast ballots in KSA

The Philippine Embassy yesterday said that the overseas absentee voting (OAV) process held from April 13 through last Monday concluded successfully in Riyadh, Jeddah and Alkhobar.
“A total of 13,321 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have cast their votes at the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Alkhobar,” Ambassador Ezzedin H. Tago said in a statement.
The envoy said that 6,851 voted in Riyadh, 2,723 in Jeddah and 3,747 in Alkhobar.
An automated election system (AES) was adopted both at the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh and at the consulate in Jeddah, while manual voting was done at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Alkhobar.
He added that the Special Board of Canvassers (SBOC), which will count the votes cast in Riyadh, Jeddah and Alkhobar, also convened at 1 p.m. on Monday as mandated by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).
The envoy added that the three-member SBO (with one canvassing and consolidating system operator) will continue to collate the results of the votes from Riyadh, Jeddah and Alkhobar. The SBOC chairman, Vice-Consul Maria Angelica Capili-Genotiva, will proceed immediately to Manila to present the certificate of canvas (COC), statement of votes (SOV), election returns and other election documents, to the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) in Manila as soon as process in Riyadh is concluded.
Tago lauded the smooth conduct of OAV elections in the Kingdom and encouraged more Filipinos in Saudi Arabia to exercise their right to vote during the elections of 2016.
He also praised the men and women at the embassy, Consulate General in Jeddah and in Alkhobar for their efforts during the OAV registration.

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.