Umrah season sees more visitors despite reduced visa numbers

Updated 01 August 2014

Umrah season sees more visitors despite reduced visa numbers

Although Umrah pilgrim quotas for various countries remain reduced this year, including in Ramadan, the flow of visitors to Makkah remained high. The holy city witnessed an increased number of pilgrims from within the Kingdom during the fasting month.
The Ministry of Haj has said that over 6 million Umrah pilgrims visited the Kingdom during the just concluded Umrah season and, according to the traffic police, over 20 million visitors visited the holy city in the month of Ramadan alone.
“The Ministry of Haj issued 6,048,373 visas during this year’s Umrah season, with the successful rate of returning pilgrims,” a senior official from the ministry told Arab News. In fact, he added, the successful rate of returning pilgrims has been confirmed with the effective electronic monitoring. “Shortly, we will release the details,” he added.
“We have successfully managed the entry and movement of 20 million passengers till the 27th of Ramadan into the holy city of Makkah.” said Ali Al-Zahrani of traffic police in Makkah. He added that more than a million cars were parked during the holy month in designated parking slots in Makkah.
He said that traffic police executed its plan successfully to avoid vehicular congestion inside the holy city in general and the Grand Mosque area in particular. This is substantiated by the lowest number of traffic accidents also violations.
Al-Zahrani added that the smooth traffic movement was facilitated in the central Makkah region enabling pedestrians to visit the Grand Mosque by preventing the vehicular movement into the area.
“Adequate public transport buses were provided from parking slots to the Grand Mosque; approximately 1,255 public buses were used to fetch pilgrims during Ramadan from parking slots to the Grand Mosque,” he added.
The cleaning and hygienic maintenance of the city also was a challenging job in the city due to the increase of pilgrims.
The Makkah municipality received an average of 2,555 tons of waste mainly from the Haram and central Makkah region each day of the month of Ramadan, according to its officials. It received about 73,202 tons of waste during the holy month, excluding Eid Holidays, said an official statement of Makkah Municipality.
It also deployed over 8,500 exclusive cleaners during Ramadan in the city.
The Presidency of Grand Mosque and Prophet’s Mosque Affairs announced that Umrah 2014 plan has proven successful. Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, head of the presidency, said it received and served the guests of Allah in Makkah and Madinah, and attributed the success of the Umrah season to Custodian of Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah’s vision and direction.


Misk Initiatives Center signs 12 deals to develop youth talent

Updated 55 min 30 sec ago

Misk Initiatives Center signs 12 deals to develop youth talent

  • MoUs with top firms such as Chinese tech giant Huawei, French oil major Total open new opportunities

RIYADH: The Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Foundation Misk Initiatives Center has signed 12 memorandums of understanding (MoU) on the sidelines of the Misk Global Forum in Riyadh with local and international companies to support and develop youth talent.

Among the companies were the Chinese tech giant Huawei, the French oil firm Total, the Emirati Federal Youth Authority, and the Ministry of Economy and Planning.

The agreements stipulated joint work between the two parties in the fields of talent development in Saudi Arabia and information and communications technology, in accordance with the National Transformation Program 2020 and the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. 

This initiative aims to find ways of cooperation and employment opportunities between the two parties.

The MoU signed between the center and the Emirati Federal Youth Authority provides for the enhancement of joint cooperation in support of youth. 

The two parties will seek to discuss future cooperation, to build a strategic partnership between the two parties in exploring potential cooperative opportunities and setting a framework for such cooperation, in addition to organizing the exchange of technologies and innovations through the joint organization of courses, forums and workshops.

The MoU aims at creating a specialized scientific dialogue between the two parties, conducting joint research at the institutes in the field of entrepreneurship and the skills of the future, considering launching joint initiatives, and examining the possibilities of cooperative programs based on the extensive experience of Misk and the Federal Youth Authority.

Misk’s Initiatives Center agreement with Total will promote joint cooperation, find training opportunities for Saudi talent at the company’s headquarters and facilities, and cooperate on educational programs that support entrepreneurship and an ecosystem for startup companies, especially in the fields of energy and technology.

The Misk Global Forum also witnessed the signing of a MoU with “Hub71” to promote learning and leadership among Saudi youth, and enhance opportunities for joint collaboration, in addition to two MoUs with 500 startups and seed stars “to promote joint cooperation between the two parties, to develop and grow the business of startups and provide them with the necessary
environment.”

Misk also signed a MoU with the Public Institution for Education and Global Leadership to promote joint cooperation and achieve the objectives of both sides, to support innovation initiatives that instill the entrepreneurial mindset of young people, as well as the establishment and organization of entrepreneurship approaches. 

Both parties agreed to focus on exploring potential collaborative opportunities related to the Entrepreneurship World Cup, and establish a competition with competitors coming from 170 countries.

Both parties also agreed to support international competitions aimed at identifying the best solutions in various fields and sectors, as well as exchanging programs on entrepreneurship and innovation.

The center has signed a MoU with the Saudi Industrial Development Fund to discuss the possibility of providing training programs and courses for the center’s employees of the Fund and the relevant authorities. In addition to discussing available opportunities for cooperative training within the Fund, and providing opportunities for participation and contribution of the Fund’s staff in Misk’s programs.

The MoU aims to explore the benefits of existing agreements between the two parties with international financial and educational institutions, in order to find opportunities that provide programs, training and educational courses, and granting cooperative trainings for Saudi youth in those global institutions.

The center also signed a MoU with the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), aiming to enhance joint cooperation on educational technology and its integration into the educational systems in the Islamic world.

An MoU with King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) will enhance the cooperation between the two parties in several initiatives, including academic development, training, entrepreneurship and innovation programs.

An MoU with Endeavor Saudi Arabia will support the Kingdom’s youth, enhance their talents and potential, stimulate economic growth, and find ways of cooperation between the two parties that serve their common interests.

The center’s MoU with the Ministry of Economy and Planning aims to spread awareness, provide new information on the education and training of human resources in the administrative and economic fields, youth empowerment, and coordinate efforts to raise their abilities.

The MoU aims to create cooperative training opportunities in local and international institutions with the purpose of workforce growth in the Kingdom’s economic sector, contributing to the development of national competencies in the economy, policies and procedures, strategic planning, in addition to providing job opportunities for graduates from areas that serve the interests of both parties and support the achievement of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.