Saudi tourist visas will be available soon

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In this photo taken on May 10, 2012, a foreign tourist listens to Saudi guide near a Nabataean tombs complex in the desert archaeological site of Madain Saleh, in Al Ula city, 1043 km northwest of the capital Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (AP)
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A file photo dated December 16, 2007 shows a section of the Archaeological Site of Al-Hijr, also known as Madain Saleh, in northern Saudi Arabia which was added on July 6, 2008 to UNESCO's World Heritage List. (AFP)
Updated 29 October 2017

Saudi tourist visas will be available soon

DAMMAM: The Saudi government has approved a plan to begin issuing tourist visas for the country, Al Watan newspaper reported yesterday. The paper’s sources stated that, in the first stage of the rollout, visas will only be available to groups of visitors through authorized tour operators.
Jamal Al-Fakhri, a member of the Shoura Council and the executive committee of Tabuk Tourism Development Council, told Al Watan that he hoped Tabuk would become “a destination for tourists in the region.”
He said that the Public Investment Fund (PIF) would help to promote tourism in Saudi Arabia, adding that tourism projects “with further diversify job opportunities” in the Kingdom.
“There are many (potential) tour guides who are multilingual and ready to work in the field after meeting the requirements set by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH),” he continued.
Rustam Al-Kubaisi, head of the SCTH’s Jizan branch, cited the Asir development project, the annual Souk Okaz in Ta’if, and the Farasan Islands as examples of tourism initiatives in the Kingdom, as well as museums and archaeological sites.
“The SCTH has been conducting tourism training workshops for the youth on topics including establishing small tourism projects and methods for increasing safety in tourism establishments,” he said. “This is in addition to raising awareness about the importance of relics, urban heritage and historical buildings.”
He added that the people of Jizan are renowned for their hospitality and are ready to welcome tourists from outside the Kingdom.


The Hajjana: heritage of Saudi Arabia’s camel riding border patrol honored

Updated 12 min 57 sec ago

The Hajjana: heritage of Saudi Arabia’s camel riding border patrol honored

The Hajjana — fearless camel riders who patrolled the Kingdom’s borders — helped pave the way for the establishment of the modern Saudi state.
Their story goes back almost 90 years when a Hajjana border patrol was established during the reign of King Abdul Aziz in 1933.
After the Kingdom’s founder reclaimed Al-Ahsa, he ordered sea and land patrols to be carried out to tighten security in the region’s border areas.
Patrols were led by camel riders, so a military sector was formed at that time known as Hajjana. Its name was derived from their means of transport — camels.
Now, nine decades later, the Camel Club has established the Royal Hajjana to commemorate the group’s distinguished cultural heritage.
Since its creation in April, the Royal Hajjana has been preparing to take part in official reception ceremonies for King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s guests as well as national festivals sponsored by the king and crown prince.
It will also perform in Saudi heritage shows and represent the Kingdom in local and international camel festivals.
Hajjana officers became famous throughout the country after acquiring their name from the “hejin,” or camel. They protected the Kingdom’s residents from the south of the Empty Quarter to north of the Nafud Desert.
One of the founding king’s priorities was to provide security and protect the nation’s borders, so the Border Guard was among the first military sectors created.
The Coast Guard’s budget also included allocations for Hajjana officers, known as the Hajjana patrol commanders, whose role was part of the Frontier Corps.
Patrols continued to operate in southern regions until recently. However, the memory of the Hajjana remains fresh in the minds of the Kingdom’s border guards.