One million people needed in Saudi tourism workforce to achieve Vision 2030 goal, says Red Sea Development Co. CEO

One million people needed in Saudi tourism workforce to achieve Vision 2030 goal, says Red Sea Development Co. CEO
Top officials discuss tourism’s potential in KSA at the forum. (AN/Ziyad Alarfaj)
Updated 19 November 2019

One million people needed in Saudi tourism workforce to achieve Vision 2030 goal, says Red Sea Development Co. CEO

One million people needed in Saudi tourism workforce to achieve Vision 2030 goal, says Red Sea Development Co. CEO
  • John Pagano made the statement during the Misk Global Forum in Riyadh

RIYADH: In order to achieve the Saudi government’s goal of attracting 100 million visitors to the Kingdom by 2030, “we need over 1 million people to enter the tourism workforce,” said John Pagano, CEO of the Red Sea Development Co.

Today that “doesn’t exist,” added Pagano, who was speaking at the Misk Global Forum in Riyadh on Wednesday. There is huge potential in Saudi Arabia to expand beyond religious tourism, he said. The Red Sea Project, a luxury tourism development in the Kingdom, will create 70,000 new jobs, he added.

Pagano said the Red Sea Development Co. has launched scholarships abroad to study international hospitality management.

“Within four days, we had 12,700 applicants enthusiastic to pursue careers in hospitality,” he added. “The future is golden for the youth of Saudi Arabia if you want to pursue a career in tourism.”

At 28,000 sq. km, the Red Sea Project is “the size of Belgium,” Pagano said. He cautioned, however, that the environment should be respected. “The environment is our most valuable asset. If we damage that, we damage everything,” he said.

At the same session, Jerry Inzerillo, CEO of the Diriyah Gate Development Authority, said 55,000 jobs will be created by 2030 in developing the historical town of Diriyah. “We’ve been given the resources to develop on every level,” he added.

Gerard Mertrallet, the French president’s special envoy for AlUla, said there are “lots of opportunities for young people” in the tourism sector. The governorate of AlUla contains Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Mertrallet said people from AlUla are being trained in culinary schools in France so as to become chefs. Tourism “has to be inclusive” and “respect the landscape,” he added.

 

 

 

 


Saudi Arabia imposes new fines in COVID-19 regulations

The Ministry of Interior said the fines are in addition to what was imposed last year to limit gatherings that contributed to the spread of the disease. (File/SPA)
The Ministry of Interior said the fines are in addition to what was imposed last year to limit gatherings that contributed to the spread of the disease. (File/SPA)
Updated 26 min 22 sec ago

Saudi Arabia imposes new fines in COVID-19 regulations

The Ministry of Interior said the fines are in addition to what was imposed last year to limit gatherings that contributed to the spread of the disease. (File/SPA)
  • Recidivist business owners and individuals could face imprisonment and fines of up to SR200,000
  • Businesses will be forced to temporarily close

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday a series of fines to be enforced against individuals and businesses which do not comply with COVID-19 regulations.
The fines vary between SR10,000 ($2,666) and SR50,000 for individuals, while businesses will have to pay between SR10,000 and SR100,000, state news agency SPA reported.
The Ministry of Interior said the fines are in addition to what was imposed last year to limit gatherings that contributed to the spread of the disease.
The full list of fines: 
Gatherings
The individual responsible for the gathering and the owner of the facility will be fined as follows:
1. SR10,000 for family gatherings inside homes, rest houses, farms, etc. exceeding the maximum numbers specified in a single or specific space, and do not come from a single household.
2. SR15,000 for non-family gatherings inside homes, rest houses, farms, camps, chalets, or open areas for people of one neighborhood, and exceeding the maximum capacity permitted in one space.
3. SR40,000 for social gatherings, including funerals, parties and the like, exceeding the numbers specified.
4. SR50,000 for any gathering of workers in homes, buildings under construction, rest houses, farms, and so on, other than their homes, consisting of five or more people in one space, and not belonging to one household.
Businesses
Violations of private sector companies for not adhering to precautionary measures or protocols include inviting people and organizing gatherings, failure to verify the health status of individuals through the relevant apps, permitting confirmed coronavirus cases to enter premises, not carrying out required checks for workers, allowing individuals not wearing a face mask to enter buildings, not providing disinfectants and sterilizers in designated places, measuring temperatures of employees and customers at entrances to malls and commercial centers, disinfecting trolleys and shopping baskets after each use, disinfecting facilities and surfaces, and closing children’s play areas and fitting rooms.
1. The business will be forced to close for five days and fined depending on its size and the number of employees.
- Very small businesses with one to five employees will be fined SR10,000.
- Small businesses with six to 49 employees will be fined SR20,000.
- Medium-sized businesses with 50 to 249 employees will be fined SR50,000.
- Large businesses with more than 250 employees will be fined SR100,000.
2. The fine will be doubled for repeat offenders to SR200,000, and the business will be forced to close for a maximum of six months.
3. The business owner will also be fined, depending on the size, and the penalty will be doubled for repeat offenders to up to SR100,000.
4. Recidivist business owners will be prosecuted and could face imprisonment.
5. Restaurants, cafes, and the like, are excluded from the aforementioned closing periods, and face 24 hour closure for first offense, 48 hours for the second, a week for the third, two weeks for the fourth, and a month if they have repeated violations five times or more.
Individuals:
1. SR1,000 for anyone who violates the regulations and will be doubled for repeat offenders and can reach up to SR100,000)
2. SR1,000 for anyone who tries to perform prayers at the Grand Mosque in Makkah or the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah without obtaining a permit.
3. SR5,000 for anyone who attends one of the aforementioned gatherings. The fine will be doubled for repeat violators with a maximum of SR100,000, and could face prosecution and imprisonment.
4. SR10,000 for organizing any gatherings, with a maximum fine of SR100,000 and imprisonment.
The ministry called on everyone to adhere to the approved health safety instructions and requirements in all places.
($1 = SR3.7502)

(With Reuters)


Khair for All — Saudi charity celebrates another successful Ramadan

Khair for All — Saudi charity celebrates another successful Ramadan
Updated 11 May 2021

Khair for All — Saudi charity celebrates another successful Ramadan

Khair for All — Saudi charity celebrates another successful Ramadan
  • Khair, the Arabic term for good, well-being, blessings and benevolence, was the operative word founder Abdulmajeed Hashem chose for his charity

 

 

JEDDAH: With Ramadan drawing to a close, a family and friends charity celebrated the success of their ninth consecutive year in operation ahead of Eid festivities.

Abdulmajeed Hashem, the 25-year-old founder of Jeddah-based charity Khair for All, told Arab News about how his family and friends played their part in giving and lending a helping hand this holy month.

Whilst endeavoring to get involved in the spirit of Ramadan aged 16, the Jeddah-born Hashem discovered that local charities in his area had too many volunteers. However, he knew that there was no cap on good that can be done — so he founded his own charity.

Khair, the Arabic term for good, well-being, blessings and benevolence, was the operative word founder Hashem chose for Khair for All.

“We started in about 2012 with a small group of my cousins and friends. We decided to start by giving out meals for Iftar Sayim,” Hashem told Arab News.

Iftar Sayim is the charitable act of providing ready meals, usually dates, water, laban and a sambosa, to Muslims in Ramadan for them to break their fasts with.

One month worth of essential food items laid out in batches ahead of packaging and distributing. (Zeina Sweidan)

“That simple beginning turned into something that grew in size, in number of volunteers, in effort — we just kind of started from there and it naturally grew.”

Hashem and his team purchased Iftar Sayim meals using their own money and began distributing them in the suburbs of Jeddah — soon they found themselves in a daily routine they could not do without.

“Meeting here everyday, setting up the packs and distributing them ourselves has really been a bonding experience with our group,” he said. “We really enjoy this activity — it’s become a part of our Ramadan that’s very important to us.”

A less fortunate suburb in Jeddah receiving Khair for All monthly packages. (Hussain Abedi)

The global health crisis did not stand in the way of the charity’s vision for 2021, and while adjustments had to be made and precautions taken, they swiftly adapted and made the necessary changes for another successful Ramadan.

Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 has played a role in getting the youth moving, according to the Khair for All founder. “I feel like with the new direction a lot more of my friends have been more willing to volunteer,” he said. “More people are ready to go and take on these projects.

“I’ve definitely noticed an increase in enthusiasm and energy in the past few years, and I think it’s very much linked to the direction of the country.”

Khair for All sets no limits on where and how it can be of service, and so ventured into more sustainable projects in which their effects will be seen in the years to come.

While Iftar Sayim is the basis for why Khair for All began, in 2014 Hashem and his team discovered that there were more ways to help the community than to simply help break their fasts.

Khair for All volunteer stuffing monthly packs of essential food items into the back of his car just before the Maghreb prayer — the time in which Muslims break their fasts. (AN/Zaid Khashogji)

“We later shifted to giving monthly packs,” the Khair for All founder said. “We kind of understood that families needed something more stable, something that would make them not have to worry about where their food was coming in for the next month.”

Since then, packaging monthly supplies consisting of basic goods and necessities has become the primary activity of the charity — and they soon found themselves working with local schools.

“We like to have more of a lasting impact in the places we’re helping out, rather than just providing a meal and then going back home,” Hashem said. “We want to provide something to the communities that we can see grow ourselves, so we’re really focusing a lot on education.”

Hashem and the team began pooling money together each year to improve the state of impoverished schools in Jeddah.

“Vision 2030 emphasizes a lot of the power the youth can have,” he said. “We believe any way we can make the schools a better learning environment for the kids would be a way of having a more lasting impact.

“We do a lot of work getting new chairs, painting and providing internet — and I hope we can continue to do more things like that in the future.”

Hashem believes that more direct communication with people in the community is necessary to address the real underlying issues, rather than just basing measures on assumptions.

“Basically, put our energy into what they tell us they need,” he said. “Talk to everyone there, and get to know them really well — that way, it’s addressing actual problems.”


Saudi civil defense reports some damage after Houthi projectile hits Jazan

Saudi civil defense reports some damage after Houthi projectile hits Jazan
Updated 11 May 2021

Saudi civil defense reports some damage after Houthi projectile hits Jazan

Saudi civil defense reports some damage after Houthi projectile hits Jazan
  • The Iran-aligned Houthi group regularly fires drones and missiles into Saudi Arabia
  • On Monday, the Arab coalition said it destroyed an explosive drone that was fired at Abha’s airport

CAIRO: Saudi Arabia’s civil defense said on Twitter early on Tuesday that a Houthi projectile had fallen in a border village in Jazan in the south of the kingdom, resulting in some damage to a house and cars but causing no injuries.
On Monday, the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi forces in Yemen said that it had intercepted an explosives-laden boat south of the Red Sea and destroyed an explosive drone that was fired at Abha’s airport.
The Iran-aligned Houthi group regularly fires drones and missiles into Saudi Arabia. The coalition says it intercepts most of them.


Saudi Arabia condemns attacks by Israeli forces at Al-Aqsa

Saudi Arabia condemns attacks by Israeli forces at Al-Aqsa
Updated 11 May 2021

Saudi Arabia condemns attacks by Israeli forces at Al-Aqsa

Saudi Arabia condemns attacks by Israeli forces at Al-Aqsa

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has condemned attacks carried out by Israeli forces at Al-Aqsa, a foreign ministry statement said early Tuesday.
The actions have caused concern in the Muslim world as the site is one of the most religious in Islam. 
The Saudi ministry of foreign affairs strongly condemns the attacks carried out by the occupation forces at Al-Aqsa mosque transgressing the safety and security of the worshippers, the statement said.
Saudi Arabia urged the international community to hold Israel accountable for the escalation of the events and calls for the immediate cessation of any exacerbation violating the international pacts and treaties, it added.
In the Gaza Strip, Palestinian authorities have reported the deaths of 20 people, including nine children, as Israel attacked militants who fired rockets at Jerusalem. 
Police fired tear gas and stun grenades inside Al-Aqsa Mosque and at least three Palestinians lost an eye after being struck by plastic bullets that witnesses said were aimed directly at their heads.
Tensions on the Gaza Strip border with Israel continued to mount following recent violent confrontations at the mosque and in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem.
More than a dozen tear gas canisters and stun grenades landed in the mosque as police and protesters faced off inside the walled compound that surrounds it. Smoke rose in front of the mosque and the golden-domed shrine on the site, and rocks littered the nearby plaza. Inside one area of the compound, shoes and debris lay scattered over ornate carpets.
The mosque is in a hilltop compound that is the third-holiest site in Islam and the holiest in Judaism. Tensions at the site, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount, have triggered repeated bouts of violence in the past.

— With input from AP


Saudis ready to enjoy Eid Al-Fitr with health precautions in mind

Saudis ready to enjoy Eid Al-Fitr with health precautions in mind
Prior to the pandemic, Eid celebrations were marked by family gatherings where people used to enjoy traditional cuisines. However, now people have limited their visits and avoid large gatherings due to health concerns. (File photo)
Updated 11 May 2021

Saudis ready to enjoy Eid Al-Fitr with health precautions in mind

Saudis ready to enjoy Eid Al-Fitr with health precautions in mind
  • COVID-19 pandemic may have muted celebrations but fails to dampen people’s spirit

RIYADH: As many Muslims around the world eagerly await Eid Al-Fitr to celebrate with family and loved ones, Saudis have shared their annual routines on the festive occasion, which for many, are the best part of the whole celebration.

“I wait eagerly for Eid, and I always try a month before to go to the public and popular markets with my sons and daughters before the crowds to prepare for the occasion,” Husain Al-Anazi, a human resources operations supervisor, told Arab News. He buys whatever his family needs such as clothes, supplies and sweets.
On the Eid day, Al-Anazi goes to the mosque, where he performs the Eid prayer, and then returns home “I return to the parents, brothers and children. I greet my mother, sisters and children. Then I go to greet the elderly in their homes, especially my uncles, aunts and some of the elderly relatives,” he added.
After completing the morning tour, he returns home at noon to take a nap until the afternoon to catch up on sleep, since he is used to staying up late during Ramadan. He then goes to the majlis (sitting room for guests) in the afternoon and prepares tea and coffee for visitors.
In the evening, Al-Anazi goes to the meeting place of his relatives, where a special dinner for the family is held in either the house of the eldest relative or a separate rented location. Once the dinner wraps up, he goes to his friends on a break to greet them and play cards.
In the following days, he travels with friends to any place they decide to visit.

My favorite food during Eid is mansaf, a traditional Arab dish made of lamb cooked in a sauce of fermented dried yogurt, and served with rice.

Asmhan Al-Fuhaiqi

As for Bandar Al-Ghayeb, a security worker at the Saudi Electricity Co., he rarely spends the whole Eid period with his family and relatives, as he works on a shift basis at the company.
He instead visits friends in the neighborhood, who prepare Eid meals (mostly grilled foods). “We don’t eat too much. We eat in a symbolic way, as if we are tasting food.”
Al-Ghayeb said that he also visits some relatives and other friends on the same day after taking a nap. Although he is usually physically exhausted, he feels psychologically comfortable, as it is a day where he is able to meet many people, including friends who he has not seen for years.
Al-Ghayeb is also keen to preserve the habit of “eidiya” every year, where children are gifted money by older members of the family.
The best moments of Eid for Saudi housewife Asmhan Al-Fuhaiqi are the morning of the first day, especially when she starts to put on new clothes.
“Performing Eid prayers has a special feeling. Then we meet together as family members at my father’s house, where we start distributing sweets to the guests,” she told Arab News.
Al-Fuhaiqi added the spirit of Eid shines through when groups begin to light fireworks in celebration.
“During Eid, I would be busy buying supplies, including clothes and accessories, and since I live in the town of Tayma, I cannot get everything I need, so I go with my family to the city of Tabuk (110 km away), which is the closest city to us” she said.

I go to greet the elderly in their homes, especially my uncles, aunts and some of the elderly relatives.

Husain Al-Anazi

She added that one of the most difficult things to buy during Eid is clothing, as she has to ensure that the size fits so that she does not go all the way back to Tabuk.
On the night before Eid, she makes sweets and puts them in the reception room before dawn, and perfumes the house with incense and oud.
In the past, Al-Fuhaiqi was keen to go to the prayer hall next to the city, which feels “beautifully different,” however, the situation changed after the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, and she instead visits the nearby mosque.
The family then begins to receive guests in their home, distributing gifts to the children and supervising the fireworks. “Although it is risky, I feel that fireworks give a wonderful atmosphere for Eid, so I make sure that I am the one who lights the fireworks myself, not the children.”

I will be very happy during Eid, because we visit many people, and many also visit us in a short period of time.
Ruaa Rashid

She said that her favorite food during Eid is mansaf, a traditional Arab dish made of lamb cooked in a sauce of fermented dried yogurt, and served with rice or bulgur.
Saudi child Ruaa Radhi told Arab News that her mother bought her a dress and beautiful shoes a few days ago for Eid, and bought enough fireworks from the market for her and her brothers.
“On the first day of Eid Al-Fitr, we will meet with my grandmother at her house in the presence of my aunts who live in other cities, where we will have dinner together, which is a cooked lamb that my mother and aunts cook,” she said.
Radhi’s maternal uncles usually gift her toys and sweets for Eid every year. “They usually give us light footballs and balloons. Indeed, I will be very happy during Eid, because we visit many people, and many also visit us in a short period of time.”
Nayef Al-Moaini, a Saudi engineer at Ma’aden, said that, for him, the celebration of Eid starts the night before, when preparing the house is one of the most important parts of the annual celebration.
“Celebration of Eid Al-Fitr often includes holding banquets for several days to celebrate the visitors, including our relatives coming from outside the city,” he added.
The second day of Eid is a fixed day for Al-Moaini’s family feast, which includes his uncles, their children and his neighbors.