Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO and board member of the Saudi Tourism Authority

Fahd Hamidaddin
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Updated 26 June 2020

Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO and board member of the Saudi Tourism Authority

Fahd Hamidaddin is the CEO of and board member of the Saudi Tourism Authority.

He is responsible for delivering on the authority’s mandate to build domestic and inbound visitation by developing, packaging and distributing tourism offerings in collaboration with the industry. He also oversees the development of the Visit Saudi destination brand and the monitoring of visitor experiences.

Before taking on his current role, Hamidaddin served as chief of investment, strategy and tourism marketing officer for the Saudi Ministry of Tourism. He played a leading role in launching the electronic visa and introducing the Visit Saudi brand with a global campaign that established the Kingdom as the world’s most exciting new tourism destination.

The Saudi Ministry of Tourism recently launched the “Saudi Summer” initiative in an effort to resume and promote domestic tourism activities in the Kingdom.

During a virtual press conference on Wednesday, Hamidaddin said 81 percent of Saudis are unwilling to travel outside the Kingdom this summer, according to an extensive survey on tourism. The ministry is working to empower local businesses in the industry and help them overcome the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The pandemic has left people feeling stifled. Our role is to turn that feeling into something that could help them relax. People just want to breathe right now,” he said.

Previously, Hamidaddin was chief commercial officer at King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) beginning in 2012. His responsibilities included the company’s marketing, corporate communications, and sustainable development groups. He also led the city’s customer experience, investment promotions, and activation, and strengthened KAEC’s strategic partnership with key media outlets to help promote it as a residential and business destination.

Before joining KAEC, Hamidaddin was chief of marketing and competitiveness at the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), where he won five international awards for communications, advertising campaigns and online marketing strategy.

In addition to sitting on the board of the Saudi Tourism Authority, Hamidaddin is also a member of the board of trustees for the Prince Mohammad bin Salman College for Business and Entrepreneurship, the board of the General Authority for Conventions and Exhibitions and several government committees.


Uthman Taha: ‘I wish the verses about heaven would never end’

Taha is the official calligrapher of the Qur’an at the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an in Madinah. The 86-year-old is still in the recovery phase, his wife said, and has been advised to rest and to avoid stress. (Supplied)
Updated 15 August 2020

Uthman Taha: ‘I wish the verses about heaven would never end’

  • The Syrian Qur’an writer, regarded as one of the world’s finest calligraphers, is on the road to recovery following his recent hospital admission

MAKKAH: Syrian calligrapher Uthman Taha is in good health and recovering at home after a 13-day stay in a hospital where he was treated for what he and his wife initially suspected to be the novel coronavirus COVID-19, although he ultimately tested negative for the virus.

Taha is the official calligrapher of the Qur’an at the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an in Madinah. His wife, Fatimah Umm Al-Nour, said Taha had a chest infection during his stay at the hospital and stressed that he had been “careful and took all the precautionary measures” and that he had not left the house for five months before his hospital visit.
The 86-year-old calligrapher is still in the recovery phase, his wife said, and has been advised to rest and to avoid stress. She praised his doctors, who have consistently checked in with the couple since Taha returned home, and added that she has tested negative for COVID-19 too.
Taha is regarded as one of the most skilled calligraphers in the Arab world. Al-Nour told Arab News that he continues to practice calligraphy daily.
Taha, who has written the Qur’an 12 times at the King Fahd Complex, was born in 1934 and attended school in Aleppo. His father was also a skilled calligrapher, who used the Ruq’ah script, and Taha studied with several of Syria’s finest calligraphers including Mohammed Al-Mawlawi, Mohammed Al-Khatib, Hussein Al-Turki, and Ibrahim Al-Rifai.
When he moved to Damascus for university, Taha began to learn other scripts, including Thuluth, Naskh (in which he is now considered a master), and Farsi. He received his calligraphy certificate from master calligrapher Hamed Al-Amadi in 1973.
He arrived in Saudi Arabia in 1988, and began work as a calligrapher at the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an in Madinah. He writes the Qur’an in the Ottoman script, and copies of his work have been distributed throughout the Islamic world.
What makes Taha’s work unique is that each page of the Qur’an that he writes concludes at the end of a verse. The secret, he explains, is to simplify the words — which is the origin of the Kufic script in which the Qur’an has been written since the days of Prophet Muhammad’s companions — keeping the letters close to one another.
Taha spent years perfecting his technique of evenly distributing the words in every line so that the space between the lettering is consistent throughout every page of every book, which means eliminating many of the script combinations that make such consistency difficult.
He explained to Arab News that when he is working on his Qur’an calligraphy he is transported: “When I begin writing the Holy Qur’an, I resort to solitude to allow myself to be invested in the verses and their interpretation, forgetting about the world around me,” he said. “I wish the verses about Jannah (heaven) would never end, and my hand trembles when I write the verses about Jahannam (hell).”