Al-Ahsa spirit welcoming tourists with open arms

Al-Ahsa spirit welcoming tourists with open arms
1 / 10
The Tourism Authority has helped pave walkways, allocate local tour guides and create pop-up venues across the city to create an exceptional experience for tourists. (Supplied)
Al-Ahsa is one of 17 regions taking part in the “Arabian Winter” campaign launched by the Saudi Tourism Authority to expand tourism and adventure opportunities in the Kingdom. (Supplied)
2 / 10
Al-Ahsa is one of 17 regions taking part in the “Arabian Winter” campaign launched by the Saudi Tourism Authority to expand tourism and adventure opportunities in the Kingdom. (Supplied)
Al-Ahsa is one of 17 regions taking part in the “Arabian Winter” campaign launched by the Saudi Tourism Authority to expand tourism and adventure opportunities in the Kingdom. (Supplied)
3 / 10
Al-Ahsa is one of 17 regions taking part in the “Arabian Winter” campaign launched by the Saudi Tourism Authority to expand tourism and adventure opportunities in the Kingdom. (Supplied)
Al-Ahsa is one of 17 regions taking part in the “Arabian Winter” campaign launched by the Saudi Tourism Authority to expand tourism and adventure opportunities in the Kingdom. (Supplied)
4 / 10
Al-Ahsa is one of 17 regions taking part in the “Arabian Winter” campaign launched by the Saudi Tourism Authority to expand tourism and adventure opportunities in the Kingdom. (Supplied)
Al-Ahsa is one of 17 regions taking part in the “Arabian Winter” campaign launched by the Saudi Tourism Authority to expand tourism and adventure opportunities in the Kingdom. (Supplied)
5 / 10
Al-Ahsa is one of 17 regions taking part in the “Arabian Winter” campaign launched by the Saudi Tourism Authority to expand tourism and adventure opportunities in the Kingdom. (Supplied)
Al-Ahsa is one of 17 regions taking part in the “Arabian Winter” campaign launched by the Saudi Tourism Authority to expand tourism and adventure opportunities in the Kingdom. (Supplied)
6 / 10
Al-Ahsa is one of 17 regions taking part in the “Arabian Winter” campaign launched by the Saudi Tourism Authority to expand tourism and adventure opportunities in the Kingdom. (Supplied)
Al-Ahsa is one of 17 regions taking part in the “Arabian Winter” campaign launched by the Saudi Tourism Authority to expand tourism and adventure opportunities in the Kingdom. (Supplied)
7 / 10
Al-Ahsa is one of 17 regions taking part in the “Arabian Winter” campaign launched by the Saudi Tourism Authority to expand tourism and adventure opportunities in the Kingdom. (Supplied)
Al-Ahsa is one of 17 regions taking part in the “Arabian Winter” campaign launched by the Saudi Tourism Authority to expand tourism and adventure opportunities in the Kingdom. (Supplied)
8 / 10
Al-Ahsa is one of 17 regions taking part in the “Arabian Winter” campaign launched by the Saudi Tourism Authority to expand tourism and adventure opportunities in the Kingdom. (Supplied)
Al-Ahsa is one of 17 regions taking part in the “Arabian Winter” campaign launched by the Saudi Tourism Authority to expand tourism and adventure opportunities in the Kingdom. (Supplied)
9 / 10
Al-Ahsa is one of 17 regions taking part in the “Arabian Winter” campaign launched by the Saudi Tourism Authority to expand tourism and adventure opportunities in the Kingdom. (Supplied)
Al-Ahsa is one of 17 regions taking part in the “Arabian Winter” campaign launched by the Saudi Tourism Authority to expand tourism and adventure opportunities in the Kingdom. (Supplied)
10 / 10
Al-Ahsa is one of 17 regions taking part in the “Arabian Winter” campaign launched by the Saudi Tourism Authority to expand tourism and adventure opportunities in the Kingdom. (Supplied)
Short Url
Updated 23 January 2021

Al-Ahsa spirit welcoming tourists with open arms

Al-Ahsa spirit welcoming tourists with open arms
  • Located in the Eastern Province, the city is eager to welcome visitors and show them the historic and cultural landmarks it has to offer
  • The city is eager to show visitors the historic and cultural landmarks it has to offer

AL-AHSA: Al-Ahsa is one of 17 regions taking part in the “Arabian Winter” campaign launched by the Saudi Tourism Authority to expand tourism and adventure opportunities in the Kingdom.

Containing more than 200 tourism private sector operators and over 300 social experiences, the city is home to many cultural landmarks promoted by its humble and welcoming people.

 

“If I were to rank Al-Ahsa, it would be first in everything,” local Mona Al-Hussein told Arab News. “The people here are friendly and so welcoming and are full of life and love. They appreciate every part of the land, and help make Al-Ahsa flourish and prosper for its people. If they have any guests they befriend them and welcome them.”

Located in the Eastern Province, the city is eager to welcome visitors and show them the historic and cultural landmarks it has to offer, Al-Hussein said.

The Tourism Authority has helped pave walkways, allocate local tour guides and create pop-up venues across the city to create an exceptional experience for tourists.

What sets Al-Ahsa apart from other tourist destinations is the overall knowledge gained from each landmark, and the history behind them being explained by passionate, experienced locals.

HIGHLIGHT

Containing more than 200 private sector tourism operators and over 300 social experiences, the city is home to many cultural landmarks promoted by its humble and welcoming people.

“Al-Ahsa’s civilization dates back to 5,000 B.C. It is not just the palm trees or the fruit, it is the people — the people are what make up Al-Ahsa,” said Hani Al-Najem, a tour guide. “When you come to Al-Ahsa you find civilization, culture, an oasis, mountains, people and history.”

Nestled between the Gara Mountains is the the Al-Dougha Pottery Factory, owned by the Gabash family. The factory has been passed down through generations for more than 150 years.

“It’s a family affair, from grandfather to grandfather to grandfather, from generation to generation,” a member of the Gabash family told Arab News. “It has been continuously passed down for easily over 150 years.”

Another landmark in the city is the Craftsmen Market, a newly built trading area that hosts the shops of some of the most well-known craftsmen in the Kingdom.

The market contains skilled artisans that still use the traditional techniques of weaving and woodworking by hand.

The people here are friendly and so welcoming and are full of life and love.

Mona Al-Hussein

One such artisan is Fatma Mahmoud, who is known locally as Bint Al-Torath. She has used the traditional technique of thread weaving to create clothing, frames and tissue boxes since childhood.

“I learned as a child from my father and have continued the craft for years. It’s important to maintain the origin of our culture. I am proud of who we are. This is how are our ancestors did it, and this is the way I do it to show people the history of our culture,” she told Arab News. “I am proud that I can teach my skills to visitors.”

Meanwhile, the Yellow Lake experience, another tourist attraction in the region, embodies the spirit of Al-Ahsa. The lake itself has a surface area of about 326,000,000 square meters and is 3 meters deep. It contains a number of migratory bird species, including egrets, flamingos, eagles and peregrines.

An off-road Jeep ride through the sand dunes transports tourists in a colorful trip through the Yellow Lake, where they can see people parachuting in the sky, equestrian activities, Saudi flags waving in the wind, and tea and coffee gatherings.

Such collaborative efforts are not created by one organization alone, but by locals, in the hope of creating lasting memories and experiences for visitors.

“The youth of Al-Ahsa have become involved in tourism. They have created innovative ideas to better serve the tourism industry, like the gentleman with the 4x4 cars,” Mona Al-Turief, a member of Saudi Tour Guides, told Arab News. “They each used their own cars to create teams and services for tourists.”

Another group of young locals assembled their fleet of Jeeps to guide tourists through the dunes of the desert and into the Yellow Lake. Lights, walkways and maps have been placed in every major landmark to assist tourists. Pop-up tents and venues have also been placed in the heart of archaeological centers to enliven the visitor experience.

Farm owner Abu Mohammed is a self-taught farmer who has harvested crops his entire life. He welcomes guests into his home with open arms and introduces visitors to his daily routine.

“I have been farming since I was a child. I never attended a college or university, I was taught by God,” he told Arab News.

He reaps crops with his sickle and offers tourists a chance to try their hand at farming. He said: “No one comes here and leaves empty-handed. This is our way.”


Organization of Islamic Cooperation chief, Moroccan envoy discuss cooperation

Organization of Islamic Cooperation chief, Moroccan envoy discuss cooperation
Updated 26 February 2021

Organization of Islamic Cooperation chief, Moroccan envoy discuss cooperation

Organization of Islamic Cooperation chief, Moroccan envoy discuss cooperation

JEDDAH: The secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen, on Thursday received the Moroccan ambassador to Saudi Arabia and OIC permanent representative, Dr. Mustafa Al-Mansouri.
The envoy signed the statute of the Islamic Organization for Food Security on behalf of his country and discussed with Al-Othaimeen ways to further strengthen cooperation between the OIC and Morocco. Al-Othaimeen praised Morocco’s leading role within the organization and in joint Islamic action.


Who’s Who: Dr. Mahmoud Al-Yamany, executive president of Second Health Cluster

Who’s Who: Dr. Mahmoud Al-Yamany, executive president of Second Health Cluster
Updated 26 February 2021

Who’s Who: Dr. Mahmoud Al-Yamany, executive president of Second Health Cluster

Who’s Who: Dr. Mahmoud Al-Yamany, executive president of Second Health Cluster

Dr. Mahmoud Al-Yamany is the executive president of a group of Saudi healthcare facilities known as the Second Health Cluster. It includes King Fahd Medical City, Prince Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz Hospital, King Saud Hospital for Chest Diseases, Al-Yamamah Hospital, and a group of primary healthcare centers in northeastern Riyadh.
Al-Yamany has also served as director of the National Neuroscience Institute, chairman of the board of directors of the Scientific Committee for Neurosurgery, medical director of neurology and head of the department of neurosurgery, both at King Fahd Medical City, and as a consultant of neurosurgery at the Riyadh Medical Complex.
He sat as chairman of the accreditation committee for health promotion at King Fahd Medical City, was a consultant of neurosurgery at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, and was an honorary professor of assistant clinical neurosurgery at King Saud University.
In addition, he held the positions of assistant executive director of medical departments and deputy executive director for medical affairs at King Fahd Medical City.
He is a representative of Saudi Arabia and an examiner on the Arab Board of Neurosurgery, and an executive partner of the Qimam Fellowship, which provides its fellows with one-on-one mentorship from senior public and private sector leaders.
Al-Yamany gained master’s degrees in health administration, and health management from Washington University, bachelor’s degrees in medicine, and surgery from King Saud University’s college of medicine in Riyadh.


Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and US President Biden discuss regional security

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and US President Biden discuss regional security
Updated 26 February 2021

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and US President Biden discuss regional security

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and US President Biden discuss regional security
  • The talks dealt with ‘the most important issues in the region’
  • They discussed Iran’s destabilizing behavior and ending the war in Yemen

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and US President Joe Biden discussed regional and global stability during a phone call on Thursday.
The two leaders stressed the importance of strengthening the partnership between the two countries and the depth of their historical relations, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
During the call, King Salman congratulated Biden on taking office last month.
The talks dealt with the most important issues in the region and reviewed developments of common interest, the report said.
The two sides discussed Iran’s behavior in the region, its destabilizing activities and its support for terrorist groups.
“King Salman thanked the US president for Washington’s commitment to defend the Kingdom against any threats and his assurance that Iran would not be allowed to possess nuclear weapons,” SPA said.
Biden commended the Kingdom’s support for UN efforts to reach a truce and a cease-fire in Yemen.
King Salman said the Kingdom was keen to reach a comprehensive political solution in Yemen and to achieve security and development for the Yemeni people.
A statement from the White House said the US president told King Salman he would work to make the bilateral relationship as strong and transparent as possible.


SAF improving lives of autistic children in Saudi Arabia for years

SAF improving lives of autistic children in Saudi Arabia for years
Updated 26 February 2021

SAF improving lives of autistic children in Saudi Arabia for years

SAF improving lives of autistic children in Saudi Arabia for years
  • Arab News spoke to Prince Saud bin Abdulaziz bin Farhan Al-Saud, SAF’s chairman, to discover more about the charity’s efforts since its launch in 2009

JEDDAH: The Saudi-based Charitable Society of Autism Families (SAF) has been assisting families with autistic children and pushing for greater community inclusion for more than 10 years now. But while awareness of autism in the region has improved in that time, there remains a stigma around and lack of understanding of the condition in the Kingdom.

Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impairs a person’s ability to communicate or socialize with others. It can lead to a variety of seemingly anti-social behaviors, including a lack of desire to interact with other people, displays of apparent hostility, avoidance of eye contact, repetitive patterns of behavior, and more.

Arab News spoke to Prince Saud bin Abdulaziz bin Farhan Al-Saud, SAF’s chairman, to discover more about the charity’s efforts since its launch in 2009.

“With the right health care and resources, combined with family support, some of the children on the spectrum can gain the necessary skills to lead a ‘normal’ life and, in some cases, demonstrate special talents and capabilities not common in the wider population,” Prince Saud said. “We see many inspiring examples in our society and we regularly showcase these success stories.”

Autism is commonly diagnosed by the age of three and is more prevalent in males than females. The first studies of autism appeared in the 1960s, but less-severe varieties of autism were not identified until the 1980’s. Today, three types of ASD have been identified — each with specific characteristics that help doctors diagnose patients. They are autistic disorder, also known as classic autism; Asperger syndrome; and pervasive developmental disorders, also known as atypical autism.

Prince Saud said it is difficult to produce an accurate estimate of how many people in the Kingdom have ASD, due to the lack of sufficient studies. “However, according to the US CDC, 1 in 54 children — across all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups — has been identified with ASD, meaning an approximate 1-2 percent of the global population is on the spectrum,” he said “This percentage might be applicable to the Kingdom.”

One of SAF’s most-common methods of raising awareness is through its series of public seminars, but it has recently also become more active on social media, in part because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Aside from its campaigning work, the society also helps arrange the provision of services including rehabilitation, educational development, guidance and assistance from other organizations for the families it supports, as well as a range of online offerings, including consultations, lectures and workshops, and rehabilitation services.

“We will continue our efforts to create a welcoming community in which autism is well understood so that those on the spectrum and their families can get the support they need,” Prince Saud said.

 


Saudi Arabia is a critical partner: US Yemen envoy

Saudi Arabia is a critical partner: US Yemen envoy
Updated 26 February 2021

Saudi Arabia is a critical partner: US Yemen envoy

Saudi Arabia is a critical partner: US Yemen envoy
  • Prince Khalid and Lenderking discussed diplomatic efforts and Saudi Arabia’s commitment to finding a solution to the conflict and supporting Yemenis

LONDON: Saudi Arabia is a critical partner of the US, the country’s envoy to Yemen said on Thursday in talks about resolving the conflict.

“The US recognizes the conflict in Yemen cannot be resolved without Saudi support,” Timothy Lenderking said after a meeting with the Kingdom’s Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman.

Prince Khalid and Lenderking also discussed diplomatic efforts and Saudi Arabia’s commitment to finding a solution to the conflict and supporting Yemenis.