Saudi visa in three minutes for visitors to Jeddah Season events

Jeddah Season, which began on June 8 and runs until July 18, forms part of major drive to boost tourism in the Kingdom. (SPA)
Updated 11 June 2019

Saudi visa in three minutes for visitors to Jeddah Season events

  • Most of the events are spread across the venues of King Abdullah Sports City, Jeddah’s historical area, Al-Hamra Corniche and Jeddah Waterfront

JEDDAH: Visitors buying online tickets for the Jeddah Season program of events will be able to secure an e-tourism visa at the same time, organizers have revealed.

The announcement came as the city’s 40-day “Sea and Culture” festival of fun and entertainment continued on Sunday with the launch of a schedule of international shows and plays being presented for the first time in the Kingdom.

The Jeddah Season festival, which began on June 8 and runs until July 18, forms part of a major drive to boost tourism in the Kingdom. And in a bid to speed up the application process for visitor passes, anyone purchasing an event ticket online will be issued with an e-visa within three minutes. 

The entertainment program aims to highlight the city as a top visitor destination while at the same time encouraging partnerships with local businesses. Organizers also hope to generate up to 20,000 job and volunteering opportunities for young Saudis throughout the course of the festivities.

Jeddah Season kicked off with a crowd-pulling concert by Emirati singer Ahlam, known as Queen of the Gulf, followed on day two by popular Saudi vocalist Mohammed Abdo, and Egyptian star Amr Diab on the third day, with shows held at the King Abdullah Sports City.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Organizers hope to generate up to 20,000 job and volunterring opportunities for young Saudis throughout the course of the festivities.

• The festival will feature international shows and plays being presented for the first time in the Kingdom.

Lebanese singer Wael Jassar is billed to perform on June 13, and Nancy Ajram, also from Lebanon, is set to take to the stage for the first time in Saudi Arabia, followed by Egyptian singer Mohammed Hamaki on June 15. The newly erected Roman Amphitheater at Jeddah Waterfront will provide another of the festival’s concert venues.

Other events lined up for Jeddah Season include street music performances and parades, award-winning international visual arts displays with 3-D special effects lights shows inspired by Baroque art, spectacular flame mountain and laser shows, and a glow garden featuring customized art pieces depicting marine wildlife of the Red Sea.

Athr Gallery, Art Jameel and Hafez Gallery will be unveiling several new exhibitions and the festivities will also include folklore dances by renowned singing and dancing groups, as well as authentic Hijazi cuisine served by Jeddawis.

Award-winning Michelin-starred restaurants and pop-up eateries will be serving festivalgoers at Jeddah Waterfront. Local favorite, Aurum Lounge, will offer a great beach dining location with views of firework displays, and first-time pop-ups Nusr-et, Nobu, Signor Sassi and Scalini will be dishing out food for visitors until 2 a.m. each day.

Most of the Jeddah Season events will be spread across the venues of King Abdullah Sports City, Jeddah’s historical area, Al-Hamra Corniche and Jeddah Waterfront.

General supervisor of Jeddah Season, Raed Abuzinada, said the festival formed part of a national initiative to promote the tourism sector, which was considered a major contributor to the Kingdom’s economy.

He said the issuing of electronic tourist visas had been linked to the purchase of tickets for any Jeddah Season event. Visitors buying festival tickets online would, where required, be automatically guaranteed a tourist visa which could be issued within three minutes (details at sharek.com.sa), Abuzinada added.

Jeddah Season is a key part of the city’s future tourism strategy, which includes supporting local entrepreneurs and owners of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) interested in investing in tourism partnership opportunities in retail, restaurants, services and other related sectors.

It also aims to provide 20,000 seasonal job and volunteering opportunities for young Saudis, allowing them to gain vital workplace experience for future career openings. In addition,
the festival is geared to backing the events sector and providing job opportunities for local startups and SMEs, while attracting international companies to the Saudi market.


Misk Global Forum discusses change in the workplace

Updated 6 min 54 sec ago

Misk Global Forum discusses change in the workplace

RIYADH: The Misk Global Forum began its second day on Wednesday with a session titled “Dinosaur or future-fit? Careers in a post-job era.”

The session discussed the evolution of change in the workplace. Panelists included Dr. Badr Al-Badr, CEO of the Misk Foundation; Princess Aljohara Al-Saud, partner at Henning Larsen studio; Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, CEO of the Tony Elumelu Foundation; and Ezequiel da Rosa, CEO and founder of Piipee.

Princess Aljohara, one of the first Saudi female architects, discussed the hardships she faced when she first started working.

“Few organizations at that time had women in their offices,” she said. Undeterred, she “saw an opportunity and grabbed it.”

She said: “I progressed and started as a junior architect. My skills and machines gradually developed and I became a business development manager in Saudi Arabia.”

Al-Badr said “many organizations,” including the Misk Foundation and the Saudi Education Ministry, “are focusing on reskilling and retooling.”

He added that the ministry is working to amend the curriculum to better suit the labor market.

But he urged youths to be proactive about acquiring skills. “Take charge of your career. Don’t wait for the education system to be fixed,” Al-Badr added.

He said: “The current careers are very different from the ones of the previous generation,” adding that “the careers of our children will significantly differ from the current careers.”

He stressed the need to improve personal skills, as traditional universities have always focused on technical skills, while personal skills come at a secondary level.

Al-Badr pointed out that personal skills are represented in work ethics, presentation skills, speaking skills and emotional intelligence, adding that some universities have started teaching them. Misk has also designed specialized programs to enhance those skills.

He called on students to take the initiative and not wait until universities change their curricula and correct the educational system. He pointed out that there are many places to acquire these skills, whether through Misk’s programs, or the internet, in addition to many government programs that enhance the personal skills of entrepreneurs, freelancers, or even traditionalists.

Al-Badr explained that many organizations, including Misk, are focusing on reteaching skills and tools, pointing out that the Ministry of Education is relaunching new curricula. He also discussed partnerships between universities and major companies for the formulation of courses that best suit the labor market and workplaces.

Ugochukwu said: “One thing that computers and AI (artificial intelligence) can’t do is show compassion. It’s what people have, and that’s what’s critical in the future.”

She said her foundation has trained over 10,000 African entrepreneurs. “The key word is training, training, training,” she added.

“We have a strong emphasis on leveraging technology. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is on its way, and Africa sure doesn’t want to miss it.” A huge part of entrepreneurship is to “create a solution that doesn’t exist,” Ugochukwu said.  To her, entrepreneurship is not “about starting a business.” Rather, it is a “mindset of doing it in the best possible way.”

She added: “Every human being has an innate talent that’s unique to them. We must tap into that talent to see outstanding achievement.”

Da Rosa, who has been an entrepreneur since the age of 16, said: “The most important thing is to make people happy and help them achieve their dreams. If you do that, you have a team.”

He added: “The point of being an entrepreneur is to do and to move. I think everyone here can do something and change something.”