Saudi tourists spent £78m in London in 2012

Updated 29 August 2013

Saudi tourists spent £78m in London in 2012

Initial estimates on foreign tourist purchases in London during this summer season are estimated to be worth £4 billion. Official statistics have not yet been disclosed.
The contribution of Arab citizens to this figure is estimated to be worth £1.3 billion, says the British Commercial Association.
The average spending of a Saudi tourist reached about £2,487, followed by that of the UAE at £2,395, then Kuwait at £1965 per head and Russia and Singapore at £1169 and £980 per head.
There has been a 36-percent increase in sales due to the contribution of Arab tourism in London. This is translated to a 13.5-percent increase in employment rates.
The positive effects of Arab tourism in the UK are not confined to the huge revenues reaped by shops and businesses as a result of Arab procurement, but also contributed to the revival of the hospitality sector as well.
Simon Jack, public relations officer at The Leonard Hotel Marble Arch in central London, said that GCC tourists, in particular those coming from Saudi Arabia and UAE, as well as Libya, spend long periods in London during the summer.
Jack said, “Some families spend more than three consecutive months sometimes.”
The phenomenon has prompted many hotels to offer services in the Arabic language and allocate spaces for prayers. London-bound Gulf tourism has raised rates of hotel occupancy.
Jack said: “Last year, estimates indicated that Saudis alone spent £78 million on hotel stays in London. They are expected to spend between £93 and £101 million this year.”
Most GCC tourists prefer to stay in apartments in central London. “This offers them more privacy and allows big and extended families to rationalize in expenditure,” he said.
Amid the huge spending by GCC tourist, the British government stands out as one of the biggest beneficiaries of these financial returns via the many channels available, mainly through taxes.
Peter Dey, tax expert at HM Revenue and Customs Department, said that tax benefits from GCC tourists to the British economy are categorized into several categorizes.
Dey said: “There is always this competition between Gulf and Russian tourists on who spends more during the season.
“But tourists coming from Russia, Hong Kong and Singapore are keen on restoring what they have paid in taxes as soon as they leave London because they are entitled to regain the proportion of taxes they paid while shopping according to the British law, unlike GCC tourists who often don’t bother to keep their invoices.”


Harassers face ‘naming and shaming’ after Saudi Shoura Council ruling

Updated 01 October 2020

Harassers face ‘naming and shaming’ after Saudi Shoura Council ruling

  • It will help eliminate harassment in workplaces and public places as well as in schools

JEDDAH: Violations of Saudi Arabia’s anti-sexual harassment laws could be punished by “naming and shaming” following a decision by the Kingdom’s Shoura Council to approve a defamation penalty.

The council voted in favor of the penalty during its session on Wednesday after previously rejecting the move in March this year.

Council member Latifah Al-Shaalan said the proposal to include the penalty was sent by the Saudi Cabinet.

Saudi lawyer Njood Al-Qassim said she agrees with the move, adding that it will help eliminate harassment in workplaces and public places as well as in schools.

“The penalty will be imposed according to a court ruling under the supervision of judges, and according to the gravity of the crime and its impact on society,” Al-Qassim told Arab News.

“This will be a deterrent against every harasser and molester,” she said.

Al-Qassim said that legal experts are required to explain the system and its penalties to the public.

“The Public Prosecution has clarified those that may be subject to punishment for harassment crimes, including the perpetrator, instigator and accessory to the crime, the one who agreed with the harasser, malicious report provider, and the person who filed a malicious prosecution lawsuit,” she added.

“The Public Prosecution also confirmed that attempted harassment requires half the penalty prescribed for the crime,” said Al-Qassim.

In May 2018, the Shoura Council and Cabinet approved a measure criminalizing sexual harassment under which offenders will be fined up to SR100,000 ($26,660) and jailed for a maximum of two years, depending on the severity of the crime. 

In the most severe cases, where the victims are children or disabled, for example, violators will face prison terms of up to five years and/or a maximum penalty of SR300,000.

Incidents that have been reported more than once will be subject to the maximum punishment. 

The law seeks to combat harassment crimes, particularly those targeting children under 18 and people with special needs.

Witnesses are also encouraged to report violations and their identities will remain confidential.

The law defines sexual harassment as words or actions that hint at sexuality toward one person from another, or that harms the body, honor or modesty of a person in any way. It takes into account harassment in public areas, workplaces, schools, care centers, orphanages, homes and on social media.

“The legislation aims at combating the crime of harassment, preventing it, applying punishment against perpetrators and protecting the victims in order to safeguard the individual’s privacy, dignity and personal freedom which are guaranteed by Islamic law and regulations,” a statement from the Shoura Council said.

Council member Eqbal Darandari, who supports the law, said on Twitter that the defamation penalty has proven its effectiveness in crimes in which a criminal exploits a person’s trust.

“The defamation of one person is a sufficient deterrent to the rest,” she said.

Social media activist Hanan Abdullah told Arab News the decision “is a great deterrent for every harasser since some fear for their personal and family’s reputation, and won’t be deterred except through fear of defamation.”

The move will protect women from “uneducated people who believe that whoever leaves her house deserves to be attacked and harassed,” she said.

“Anyone who is unhappy with this decision should look at their behavior.”