TOKYO: Saudi Arabian Government Tourism Bureau (STA) set up a Japan branch in Tokyo with the travel project company Discover the World, Japanese magazine Travel Vision reported.
STA currently has tourism promotion bureaus at 11 locations in 21 countries and aims to set up additional four bureaus in the future, it said.
“We organized a global professional team to introduce to visitors a variety of cultural experiences, world-class historical heritage, and Arab’s authentic hospitality,” STA CEO Fahad Hamiraddin said in a magazine interview.
Shigehiko Okuda will assume the post as Japan bureau chief in charge of sales and marketing activities for tourism and general consumers.
Saudi Arabia has recently lifted the ban on tourism visas against 49 countries, including Japan, but resumed providing tourist visas for only those vaccinated against COVID-19.
Saudi Arabia records 2 COVID-19 deaths, 46 new infections
The health ministry says 64 patients have recovered from the virus in the last 24 hours
Municipalities close several businesses and issue fines to a number of others for breaching coronavirus protocols
Updated 3 min 32 sec ago
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia confirmed two new COVID-19 related deaths on Wednesday, raising the total number of fatalities to 8,849.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 46 new cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 550,043 people have now contracted the disease. Of the total number of cases, 29 remain in critical condition.
According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in the capital Riyadh with 16, followed by Jeddah with 10, while Tabuk, Makkah and Dhahran confirmed two cases each.
The health ministry also announced that 64 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 539,205.
Over 47.8 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered since the Kingdom’s immunization campaign started. More than 22.7 million people have been fully vaccinated.
Saudi municipalities have also ramped up efforts to monitor compliance with health and safety measures.
The municipality of Eastern Province carried out 3,687 inspection tours of commercial centers and facilities during the last three days. Authorities recorded 211 violations and closed three businesses for not adhering to the precautionary measures.
Jeddah Municipality carried out 6,081 tours in the past two days and field teams issued fines to 32 commercial outlets and closed 10 others for breaching protocols.
Officials have also called on the public to report any suspected health breaches by phoning the 940 call center number or contacting authorities through the Balady app.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 267 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 5.29 million.
Saudi hands turn Al-Khuzama Park into the paradise of the Groves
The Groves, in the Diplomatic Quarter, is set in Al-Khuzama Park, one of the famous green spaces in Riyadh at Wadi Hanifah
Updated 31 sec ago
Lojien Ben Gassem
RIYADH: The woman behind the success of the Groves, one of the 14 zones in this year’s Riyadh Season, revealed to Arab News how she realized the project in only 45 days.
“The planning ran from January till September. We had only 45 days to put it together,” said Siham Hassanain, general manager of the Groves.
“All of the designs have been done by Saudi hands. All of the restaurants are local brands Everything you see, from lighting to construction to organizers, is Saudi. The zone was built by a local company called Zivix International Holding,” she added.
The Groves, in the Diplomatic Quarter, is set in Al-Khuzama Park, one of the famous green spaces in Riyadh at Wadi Hanifah.
“It all started in 2019, I had some work to do in the diplomatic quarter, and I entered the park and fell in love with its beauty,” she said.
Hassanain said she researched the place and found out that the park was built 38 years ago when the diplomatic quarter was established.
Turki Al-Shaikh, CEO of the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) and chairman of the Season, had tweeted that anyone with a new idea for Riyadh Season should present it to the authority.
“The first thing that came to my mind was Al-Khuzama Park. I didn’t expect at all, not even 1 percent, that this zone would become a reality. But I told myself I should put all of my energy in this place,” Hassanain said.
After Hassanain pitched her idea to the GEA, she was selected as one of the 20 winning initiatives for the Riyadh Season, and her concept won first place.
“When the announcement came out, I was happy and excited for the first five minutes, then the sense of responsibility kicked in,” she said.
Hassanain says the Groves is filled with trees and fields: “You can hear fountains, water, and birds. The place also has a special scent.”
The Groves’ logo has the four elements of life: water, air, fire, and earth, which Hassanain included in the zone as water resembles relaxation, fire action and attractions, earth food, and air resembles memories.
She faced many challenges while executing the project as everything was done by hand to make sure no plants or trees were destroyed.
She said she had a fantastic Saudi team who helped her and believed and loved the concept even more than she did. “I was anxious they were passionate, I was nervous they were enjoying it … so these feelings created a balance.”
Hassanain noted that in the past Saudi females faced some obstacles in being part of building the country. “Had it not been for the support and vision of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman this wouldn’t exist,” she said.
“If we compare the Boulevard Riyadh City zone in 2019 to the zone in 2021, you can see the big jump. We will amaze the whole world and become the first in the entertainment sector.”
Saudi Arabia’s crown prince arrives in Qatar, meets emir
Updated 1 min 52 sec ago
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Wednesday arrived in the Qatari capital, Doha, on the third leg of his official tour of neighboring Gulf countries.
Upon his arrival at Doha International Airport, the crown prince was received by Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad.
An official ceremony and procession was held to welcome Prince Mohammed at the Amiri Diwan, where he also met senior Qatari officials.
The crown prince then visited the Consultative Assembly, where he was greeted by a number of officials.
Prince Mohammed and Sheikh Tamim presided over the 6th Saudi-Qatari Coordination Council meeting, where the Qatari leader welcomed the crown prince to Qatar.
The crown prince expressed his thanks and appreciation to the emir for the warm reception and generous hospitality, and conveyed greetings from King Salman.
During the meeting, they reviewed aspects of the fraternal relations between the two countries, and ways to enhance cooperation in various fields, as well as the latest regional and international developments.
The crown prince and emir signed the minutes of the Saudi-Qatari Coordination Council meeting at the end of the session.
Sheikh Tamim said the prince’s visit will deepen the strong ties, especially in light of the conditions in the region.
“The relations of brotherhood and cooperation between Qatar and Saudi Arabia are based on solid foundations of a common history and destiny,” he said in a tweet.
“Today, I discussed with my brother, Prince Mohammad bin Salman, ways to enhance this cooperation between our two countries (and) I also affirmed with him our common concern to support security and stability in our region and the region,” Sheikh Tamim said, adding: “Welcome my brother Mohammad to Qatar.”
The crown prince arrived in Doha from the UAE on the third leg of his official tour of Gulf states. He began in Oman and is expected to visit Bahrain and Kuwait, where he will meet with leaders and senior officials in an effort to boost relations.
Saudi Arabia’s crown prince visits Dubai Expo, meets Dubai ruler
Saudi Arabia and the UAE issued a joint statement following the crown prince’s visit
The two sides agreed to work to coordinate their positions on regional and international issues
Updated 08 December 2021
DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Wednesday arrived at the World Expo headquarters in Dubai, on the second day of his official tour of the UAE.
The crown prince was received by UAE Vice President and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, where they held a meeting to discuss “ways to strengthen bilateral relations that bind the two brotherly countries and peoples within the framework of the same destiny and common vision,” Dubai Media Office reported.
Sheikh Mohammed said that the world is looking for ward to Saudi Arabia hosting the World Expo 2030 in the capital, Riyadh, with the efforts of Prince Mohammed.
“I assured the prince that we are also looking forward to the upcoming Riyadh Summit,” he said in a tweet, referring to the Gulf Cooperation Council annual meeting, adding: “The peoples of the Gulf are waiting for us with new and great ideas and projects.”
Saudi Arabia and the UAE issued a joint statement following the crown prince’s visit, which also included a meeting with his Abu Dhabi counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed.
The two sides praised the distinguished level of cooperation between them in the political, security, military, economic and development fields, and the cooperation and integration achieved under the umbrella of the Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council.
“The two sides referred to the abundant economic potentials and distinguished opportunities for strengthening the strategic partnership and doubling joint investments, stressing the importance of highlighting the promising areas for investors in the two countries,” the joint statement said.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE commended the close cooperation between them, and the successful efforts of the OPEC+ group, aimed at enhancing the stability of the global oil market. They called on member states to continue cooperating and adhere to the OPEC+ agreement.
They agreed to strengthen cooperation in the fields of energy, artificial intelligence, digital transformation, cybersecurity, climate change, health, tourism, food security and human development, especially in the youth and women’s empowerment sectors.
On regional and international issues, the two sides agreed to work to coordinate their positions in a manner that serves their interests and enhances security and stability.
They affirmed their full support for all legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, foremost of which is their right to establish an independent and sovereign Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
On Yemen, the two sides agreed to continue their efforts to find a comprehensive political solution to the crisis and stressed the need to complete the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement.
“We condemn the continued targeting by the terrorist Houthi militia of airports, objects and vital installations in the Kingdom,” the statement said.
The two sides called for implementing comprehensive political and economic reforms to ensure that Lebanon can overcome its crises and confine weapons to the legitimate state institutions.
“Lebanon must not be a launching pad for any terrorist acts and an incubator for organizations and groups that target regional security and stability, such as the terrorist Hezbollah group, nor a source for drugs that threaten the safety of societies in the region and the world,” the statement said.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE welcomed the success of the recent elections in Iraq, and hoped the new Iraqi government will continue to work for the security, stability and development of the country and eliminate terrorism and foreign interference.
“The two sides also welcomed the agreements reached by the parties to the transitional phase in Sudan, and affirmed their continued support for everything that would achieve security and stability in Sudan” and stability and prosperity for its people, the statement added.
They also stressed the need to cooperate and seriously and effectively deal with Iran’s nuclear and missile program with all its components and repercussions in a way that contributes to achieving regional and international security and stability. They emphasized the principles of good neighborliness and respect for UN resolutions and international legitimacy, and sparing the region from all destabilizing activities.
The statement also demanded on parties to the Iran nuclear talks to take into account the interests, security and stability of the countries of the region during negotiations.
The two sides also affirmed that a political solution is the only solution to the Syrian crisis, and pledged support to the efforts of the UN envoy. They also welcomed Libyan and UN efforts to support the implementation of the agreed political outcome, and stressed the need to withdraw mercenaries and foreign fighters from Libya.
The Kingdom and the Emirates also agreed to support security and stability in Afghanistan so it does not become a safe haven for terrorists and extremists. The two sides denounced any acts aimed at recruiting Afghan refugees in the various conflict areas, and pledged to support relief efforts and humanitarian work in Afghanistan.
The UAE praised the Kingdom for calling an extraordinary meeting for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation countries to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, which will be held in Pakistan on Dec. 19. Saudi Arabia also praised the the UAE’s efforts in the evacuation operations from Afghanistan.
Prince Mohammed sent separate cables to UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, as well as to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, following his visit, thanking them for the warm reception and hospitality he and his accompanying delegation received.
He said the talks he held over the past two days “confirmed the depth of the historical and distinguished relations between the two brotherly countries,” and wished them good health and happiness and the Emirati people steady progress and prosperity, SPA reported.
Prince Mohammed left the UAE for Qatar following a two-day visit to Oman, as part of a wider Gulf tour that also includes stops in Bahrain and Kuwait.
Saudi held in Paris over Khashoggi murder misidentified, heading home: Saudi Arabia
Saudi citizen released after case of mistaken identity
Updated 7 min 16 sec ago
RIYADH: A Saudi national that was held in France for allegedly having connections to the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has been released after authorities said he was misidentified.
Khalid Al-Otaibi was arrested in Paris because he had a similar name to one of those accused of the 2018 murder of Khashoggi.
Paris General Prosecutor said that after a day of checks that an arrest issued by Turkey did not apply to the Saudi.
The Saudi Embassy in Paris said that they had visited Al-Otaibi in custody and confirmed the citizen was release on Wednesday evening and was heading back to the Kingdom.
Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry earlier said the arrested individual linked to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi “has nothing to do with the case,” and called for his “immediate release.”
“Regarding the arrest of a Saudi citizen on the grounds of being a suspect in the murder of the late citizen Jamal Khashoggi, the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Republic of France would like to clarify that what was reported in the media is incorrect, and that the person who was arrested has nothing to do with the case in quesiton,” a statement released on Tuesday said.
“Therefore, the Kingdom's embassy expects his immediate release.
“The Embassy would also like to reaffirm that the Saudi judiciary has issued verdicts against all of those who paritcipated in the heinous murder of Jamal Khashoggi, all of them are currently serving their sentences,” it added.
The journalist was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul while attempting to get documents to marry his Turkish fiancee.
Five of the 11 on trial for the murder of Khashoggi have been sentenced to death; three others were sentenced to varying prison terms and the remaining three were acquitted.