Saudi tourism commission launches ‘Ramadan Brings Us Together’ festival in Makkah

Hisham Madani, director general of SCTH, opening the festival. (Supplied Photo)
Updated 11 May 2019

Saudi tourism commission launches ‘Ramadan Brings Us Together’ festival in Makkah

  • Makkah has always been the capital of culture and home of civilization — SCTH chief

MAKKAH: The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) launched the “Ramadan Brings Us Together” festival on Wednesday in the Great Hall of Makkah.

The launch ceremony featured theater performances and competitions, among other events. It also offered family businesses and entrepreneurs the opportunity to promote their products, services and innovations.

Hisham Madani, the director general of SCTH, said that Makkah has always been the capital of culture and home of civilization and that it is rich in historical sites and monuments, highlighting that the city’s holy status come from it being the site of the world’s first house of worship.

Madani added: “We have gathered this evening at the Ramadan Brings Us Together festival to instill the sacred values of Makkah and continue the construction renaissance begun by the country’s founder, the late King Abdul Aziz, and continued by his sons until the era of our King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”

He thanked the event’s organizers and the team who established the festival. “They have devoted their time and effort to celebrate the holy capital in order to emphasize its well-deserved status and raise awareness among the younger generations that Makkah is eternal,” he said.

“We have a shared responsibility to revive the historical heritage of the holy capital and merge the present with the past to highlight the history, culture, and pride of the Saudi identity,” he continued. “We must achieve the greatest possible economic benefit for the local community and the tourism sector and encourage the participation of the local community in these events, so that they experience our country’s development.”

 

Umrah pilgrims

Developing Hajj and Umrah organizations and services in the Kingdom is among the top priorities of the Saudi government.

The number of Umrah pilgrims who have arrived in the Kingdom since the start of the current Umrah season has reached 6,136,139, a 7 percent increase on the 5,719,398 who came during the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.

The figures were published in a statistical report, which also revealed that the number of visas issued for the current Umrah season was 6,730,109, compared with 6,314,448 the previous year, an increase of 6 percent.


Saudi Arabia’s reform drive empowering women, US diplomat says

Updated 23 February 2020

Saudi Arabia’s reform drive empowering women, US diplomat says

  • Few outside Kingdom understand the scale of female empowerment, top US diplomat tells Arab News

RIYADH: Few people outside Saudi Arabia grasp the scale of the Kingdom’s reform drive, especially in empowering women, a leading US diplomat has told Arab News.

“I was reminded of this … by a prominent Saudi woman, who is happy and proud of the reforms,” said US State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus.

“She made the excellent point that Saudi women have been strong, capable and educated for a long time.”

The woman told Ortagus that Saudi women wanted their peers in the US to understand them, not feel pity for them. “Saudi women are not in need of being rescued,” Ortagus said,

READ FULL INTERVIEW: Saudi-US bond will last another 75 years, says US State Department spokesperson

Ortagus lived in Saudi Arabia for almost two years after she was appointed deputy US Treasury attache in 2010, and has been revisiting for the first time since then.

“It doesn’t even seem like the same country,” she said. “I didn’t recognize it. I couldn’t believe that it was the same diplomatic quarter that I used to live in 10 years ago — it is totally transformed.”

Opinion

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Washington would always welcome Saudi input on Middle East issues, she said. “We’d love the Kingdom’s help on things like the peace plan and vision that Jared Kushner has laid out. It may not be a perfect plan, but if we’re ever going to have peace in this region, it’s going to come from Saudi Arabia getting in and being involved.”