Praise for Saudi visa after China tops visitor numbers

Chen Weiqing, ambassador of China to Saudi Arabia.
Updated 12 October 2019

Praise for Saudi visa after China tops visitor numbers

  • China topped the visitor numbers with 7,391 arrivals

Saudi Arabia’s new tourist visa will stimulate economic diversification and boost visitor numbers from around the world, Chen Weiqing, China’s ambassador in Riyadh, said.

Almost 24,000 foreign visitors entered Saudi Arabia in the 10 days after instant tourist visas were introduced at airports in the Kingdom, according to the Foreign Ministry.

China topped the visitor numbers with 7,391 arrivals, followed by the UK and US. Canada, Malaysia and Russia also had a significant number of visitors to the Kingdom.

Commenting on the figures, the Chinese envoy told Arab News: “We welcome the inauguration of the new Saudi tourist visa and offer congratulations on the positive feedback from tourists.

“Developing the tourism sector will help achieve Vision 2030, stimulate economic diversification and encourage the world to get to know Saudi Arabia,” he said.

History

The envoy said that Saudi Arabia, with its rich history, unique culture and variety of natural landscapes, held unique appeal for tourists from around the world.

“China and Saudi Arabia are comprehensive strategic partners. We are pleased to see that Chinese tourists topped the number of tourist visas applied so far,” Chen said.

He said that the number of Chinese outbound tourists reached 140 million in 2018.

“We believe that tourism cooperation between our two countries has great potential, and Saudi Arabia will become an attractive destination for Chinese tourists in the near future.

“The Chinese Embassy is ready to work with our Saudi partners to provide quality services to Chinese tourists.”

Religious journeys

Significantly, the new visa system also allows ease of access for Muslims to perform Umrah outside the Hajj season without the need for a sponsor, as is the case with work permit visas.

Outside of religious journeys, the new visa does not exclude any visitor on religious grounds and successful applicants can make multiple visits to the Kingdom within a 12-month period, provided each visit does not exceed 90 days.

The newly launched visa system was introduced in a bid to create 1 million jobs in the Kingdom as well as targeting 100 million tourists by 2030 as part of Saudi Vision 2030.


Saudi Arabia to export electricity under ‘noble’ energy plan

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman, 2nd left, Khaldoon Al-Mubarak, CEO of Mubadala, 2nd right, Total’s Patrick Pouyanne, and moderator Bassem Awadallah, left, at the Misk Global Forum in Riyadh. (AN photo/Ziyad Al-Arfaj)
Updated 13 November 2019

Saudi Arabia to export electricity under ‘noble’ energy plan

  • ‘We are moving ahead with our civil nuclear program’, says energy minister

RIYADH: Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman has reaffirmed the Kingdom’s commitment to diversifying its energy sources, telling the Misk Global Forum 2019 that an expanding renewable energy program will meet the country’s domestic requirements and even allow it to export electricity.
“We are moving ahead with our civil nuclear program,” the minister told the forum’s opening session.
He said the Kingdom’s renewable energy program “will get us into manufacturing and exporting electricity.”
Prince Abdul Aziz added: “We have a new program, a ‘noble’ program, to create a new way of using oil and gas that is different from the conventional ways.”
He told the forum that renewable energy will create jobs for thousands of Saudis and non-Saudis, saying that jobs for both are equally valuable.
“Non-Saudis are important. I was educated by non-Saudis. We should recognize that and not let our nationalism defeat us, and not be ungrateful to them,” he said.
The energy minister said that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is providing all Saudis with equal opportunities.
“We know that our women now are enabled, they have an education program,” he said. “We have equal pay for both men and women.”
Prince Abdul Aziz said that social reforms in the Kingdom have turned Riyadh into a “city of joy,” where families had access to a range of entertainment options.
He urged forum participants to learn from their mistakes and never from success. “I am an embodiment of mistakes,” said the prince.
“Even princes have dreams, because they have fathers and grandfathers who had big dreams and we could never let them down,” he said.
“Education, training and resilience are important to keep up and never be broken,” he said, adding: “If I hadn’t had that self-motivation, the notion that you don’t give up, I wouldn’t be here today.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Renewable energy will create jobs for thousands of Saudis and non-Saudis.

• ‘Noble’ program will create a new way of using oil and gas that is different from the conventional ways.

• Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ‘is providing all Saudis with equal opportunities.’

“I am humble enough, serious enough and Saudi enough to say that,” he said. A panelist at the forum, Patrick Pouyanne, chairman and CEO of Total, urged the younger generation not to be afraid of technology, saying that Artificial Intelligence will not take over their jobs.
“There is a beautiful challenge for making it compatible,” he said.
Fellow panelist Khaldoon Al-Mubarak, CEO of the UAE’s Mubadala Investment Co., told the audience that they represented the future.
“Our job as leaders today is to make sure that we provide you with the right opportunities, enabling the youth to succeed,” he said.
“Don’t fight technology, embrace it,” said Al-Mubarak.
In her welcome speech, Shaima Hamidaddin, Misk Global Forum’s executive manager, said that 7,000 participants had registered for the event, making it the largest ever, as well as the most diverse edition with more than 120 countries taking part.
“In every edition of the forum, we look at how to prepare for the future,” she said. “This year we are focusing on work. Everybody is touched by work in some way and that’s why we must rework our work.”