Arab Tourism Organization to put up regional tourism training center in Tunisia

Bandar bin Fahd Al-Fuhaid, second left, president of Arab Tourism Organization, holds talks on tourism development with Tunisian Tourism Minister Salma Elloumi Al-Rakik, second right, in Jeddah. (AN photo)
Updated 19 April 2017

Arab Tourism Organization to put up regional tourism training center in Tunisia

JEDDAH: Bandar bin Fahd Al-Fuhaid, president of Arab Tourism Organization (ATO), announced that the ATO has decided to grant Tunisian President Beji Caid Sibsi the Arab tourism necklace of excellence in recognition of his support to the tourism sector in Tunisia.
Al-Fuhaid has also said that a poverty fund with participation of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) would be established in Tunisia, in addition to establishing a regional tourism training center in Tunisia that will cover all Maghreb countries.
“A branch of the Arab Tourism Organization will also be opened in Tunisia and will cover all Maghreb countries,” he said.
Tunisian Tourism Minister Salma Elloumi Al-Rakik said that Tunisia was appreciative of King Salman for the continuous support of Tunisia in all levels.
Al-Rakik told Arab News that through her meeting with the president of the Arab Organization for Tourism, “we have taken several important decisions in favor of the development of tourism in Tunisia, after previous negotiations and we are now seeking to activate them in the future.”
Al-Fuhaid said the tourism and travel sector is one of the most important sectors that contribute in the deployment and help reduce unemployment.
“The volume of investments of the tourism sector in the Arab countries is expected to reach to $323 billion by the end of 2020,” Al-Fuhaid said.
Al-Fuhaid also said the inter-Arab tourism before the current unrest in the region reached 45 percent and then, as a result, dropped to about 30 percent, which caused losses that reached more than $40 billion.
He also pointed to a latest study conducted by the ATO, which indicated that Arab tourists spend more than foreign tourists, as the average expenditure on a five-day trip by an Arab tourist reaches to at least $4,500.


Iraq denies links to drone attack on Saudi oil facilities

Updated 15 September 2019

Iraq denies links to drone attack on Saudi oil facilities

  • The operation was claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen
  • ‘Iraq is constitutionally committed to preventing any use of its soil to attack its neighbors’

BAGHDAD: Baghdad on Sunday denied any link to drone attacks on Saudi oil plants, after media speculation that the strikes were launched from Iraq despite being claimed by Yemeni rebels.
The attacks early Saturday targeted two key oil installations, causing massive fires and taking out half of the kingdom’s vast oil output.
The operation was claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bogged down in a five-year war.
But the Wall Street Journal has reported that officials were investigating the possibility the attacks involved missiles launched from Iraq or Iran.
Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi on Sunday denied reports Iraqi territory “was used for drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities.”
“Iraq is constitutionally committed to preventing any use of its soil to attack its neighbors,” he said in a statement.
“The Iraqi government will be extremely firm with whomever tries to violate the constitution.”
Iraq is home to several Iran-backed militias and paramilitary factions, placing it in an awkward situation amid rising tensions between its two main sponsors, Tehran and Washington.
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo squarely accused Tehran of being behind Saturday’s operation, saying there was no evidence the “unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply” was launched from Yemen.
Iraq has called for its territory to be spared any spillover in the standoff between the US and Iran, which has included a series of attacks on shipping in sensitive Gulf waters.
Recent raids on bases belonging to Iraqi Shiite paramilitary groups linked with Iran, attributed to Israel, sparked fears of an escalation.
There have been no military consequences so far, but the strikes have heightened divisions between pro-Tehran and pro-Washington factions in Iraq’s political class.
Baghdad has recently moved to repair ties with Saudi Arabia, a key US ally — much to Iran’s chagrin.
Riyadh recently announced a major border post on the Iraqi frontier would reopen mid-October, after being closed for almost three decades.