Saudi Arabia launches e-visa service for cruise tourists

Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry launched an e-visa service for cruise tourists wanting to enter the Kingdom. (Supplied)
Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry launched an e-visa service for cruise tourists wanting to enter the Kingdom. (Supplied)
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Updated 04 January 2022

Saudi Arabia launches e-visa service for cruise tourists

Saudi Arabia launches e-visa service for cruise tourists
  • Saudi authorities plan to invest up to $200 billion and welcome 100 million visitors by 2030

JEDDAH: The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs has launched an e-visa service for cruise tourists.

Through Twitter, the ministry on Sunday said that the e-visa would be issued to people arriving in Saudi Arabia via cruises, and that applications could be filed through its electronic platform.

Proof of a cruise ticket purchase is required to apply for the visa, it added. Applications will then be processed before a visa is issued through the ministry’s digital embassy platform.

Tourism plays a crucial role in the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan for economic diversification.

As a result, Saudi authorities plan to invest up to $200 billion and welcome 100 million visitors by 2030. Vision 2030 aims to increase the tourism sector’s contribution to gross domestic product to 10 percent.

Part of the Kingdom’s strategy involves job creation and the construction of additional tourism facilities, including hotels.

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100m

KSA plans to invest up to $200bn and welcome 100m visitors by 2030. Vision 2030 aims to increase the tourism sector’s contribution to GDP to 10%.

Last month, the Madinah-based University of Prince Mugrin signed a deal with Cruise Saudi, an affiliate of the Public Investment Fund, to train national cadres in the tourism field.

Under the deal, young Saudis will be offered professional programs in various tourism specializations. It aims to develop the capabilities of the local workforce in the cruise industry, tourism and hospitality sectors. Cruise Saudi aims to create 50,000 direct and indirect jobs by 2035.

Similarly, Saudia, the Kingdom’s national airline, signed an agreement last November with MSC Cruises and Cruise Saudi to provide 20,000 seats on its flights from Europe and North America to Jeddah.

Military personnel and civil servants are working round the clock at Jeddah’s Red Sea Operations Center to provide tourist yachts with entry licenses. The multi-agency center assists foreign yacht owners and local agents in both Arabic and English, enabling them to enter Saudi waters.

It comes as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s plan to reinforce tourism through marine activities, Cmdr. Hasan Al-Asmari, the manager of the center, told Arab News.


Saudi National Parks Program will benefit environment, communities and tourism, organizers say

The planting of more wild trees will be carried out by staff from the center, along with workers from environmental associations and organizations. The program will be implemented in phases. (Supplied)
The planting of more wild trees will be carried out by staff from the center, along with workers from environmental associations and organizations. The program will be implemented in phases. (Supplied)
Updated 22 January 2022

Saudi National Parks Program will benefit environment, communities and tourism, organizers say

The planting of more wild trees will be carried out by staff from the center, along with workers from environmental associations and organizations. The program will be implemented in phases. (Supplied)
  • The program, launched this month, includes plans to establish 100 national parks within five years and showcase the Kingdom’s natural splendor and treasures

MAKKAH: Saudi Arabia’s recently launched National Parks Program will benefit the environment and local communities, and provide a boost to sustainable tourism and by attracting local and foreign visitors, according to the National Center for Vegetation Cover Development and Combating Desertification.

The program, unveiled by the center this month, includes plans to establish and enhance 100 national parks within five years and showcase the Kingdom’s natural splendor and treasures. It also includes the planting of 50 million trees as part of the Saudi Green Initiative.
Abdul Rahman Al-Dakhil, a spokesman for the center, said that the program will help to achieve the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 development and diversification project and the Saudi Green Initiative.
He added that the center will promote and develop the parks program by supporting afforestation efforts and sustainable ecotourism initiatives, while helping to protect the environment in partnership with governmental organizations.
“The program will be implemented in phases, whereby the first phase will target 100 national parks and turn them into sustainable landmarks, followed by other phases and goals,” Al-Dakhil told Arab News.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The program, unveiled by the center this month, includes plans to establish and enhance 100 national parks within five years and showcase the Kingdom’s natural splendor and treasures. It also includes the planting of 50 million trees as part of the Saudi Green Initiative.

• Some areas of land allocated for the development of national parks have special historical, cultural, geological or archaeological significance. The project includes some of the most important sites in the Kingdom, including the Edge of the World, which is located northwest of Riyadh and was formed about 180 million years ago, and the ancient Muawiyah Dam, also known as Saysad Dam.

“Achieving tourism and environmental balance is one of the most important criteria while developing any park.”
The planting of more wild trees will be be carried out by staff from the center, along with workers from environmental associations and organizations.
Some areas of land allocated for the development of national parks have special historical, cultural, geological or archaeological significance. The project includes some of the most important sites in the Kingdom, including the Edge of the World, which is located northwest of Riyadh and was formed about 180 million years ago, and the ancient Muawiyah Dam, also known as Saysad Dam.
Abdulrahman Alsoqeer, chairman of the Environmental Green Horizons Society, said that the Kingdom is experiencing an environmental renaissance, focused on preserving vegetation and expanding afforestation efforts, that is attracting global attention. The National Parks Program is part of this green renaissance, he added.
“Allocating lands for national parks is an important primary step in protecting the vast areas of government lands that are scattered and untapped, and converting them into vast vegetation reserves,” Alsoqeer told Arab News.
He said that there are a number of benefits to establishing and maintaining national parks, including the restoration of vegetation cover that has deteriorated drastically in the recent decades. It can also improve the quality of life by reducing the intensity of dust storms, improving the climate, and enhancing the visual landscape with the addition of more greenery.
In addition, a number of products can be derived from the plants cultivated in the parks, including honey provided by bees that will thrive among the wild plants.
Local communities in the vicinity of the parks will also benefit from increased employment and investment opportunities, enhanced biodiversity, the protection of endangered plant and animal species, and the enhancement of ecotourism and recreation options.


World’s top tenor Bocelli wows AlUla crowd again

World’s top tenor Bocelli wows AlUla crowd again
Updated 8 sec ago

World’s top tenor Bocelli wows AlUla crowd again

World’s top tenor Bocelli wows AlUla crowd again
  • The Italian flautist Andrea Griminelli also joined Bocelli for a mesmerizing duet

ALULA: Singing at AlUla is “one of my favorite experiences,” the world’s favorite tenor said after another memorable concert in the ancient desert city.
Andrea Bocelli performed to a packed auditorium on Friday in the iconic mirrored Maraya venue, and millions more watching live on TV and online.
“It is always an incredible experience to sing in the middle of the desert in AlUla,” he said. “Coming from the noise and chaos of the big city, it is an educational experience for me to find myself in this idyllic and peaceful place away from the world.”
It was Bocelli’s fourth performance at Winter at Tantora, the Kingdom’s original music and cultural festival. He was accompanied on stage by Italy’s Asti Symphony Orchestra and sopranos Christine Allado, Serena Gambero and Clara Barbier Serrano.
The Italian flautist Andrea Griminelli also joined Bocelli for a mesmerizing duet that sparked rapturous applause and had the audience calling for more.
Winter at Tantora, one of four festivals under the AlUla Moments banner, continues until Feb. 12.


First phase to document the path of Prophet’s journey completed

Documentation of the path was mainly done by panoramic photography 360. Later, the migration of the Prophet will be digitally documented using 4K drones. (Supplied)
Documentation of the path was mainly done by panoramic photography 360. Later, the migration of the Prophet will be digitally documented using 4K drones. (Supplied)
Updated 22 January 2022

First phase to document the path of Prophet’s journey completed

Documentation of the path was mainly done by panoramic photography 360. Later, the migration of the Prophet will be digitally documented using 4K drones. (Supplied)
  • The initiative is part of the preparations to inaugurate Jabal Thawr Cultural Center in Makkah, which seeks to enrich and broaden tourists’ experience

MAKKAH: The organizers of “Rihlat Muhajir” (An Emigrant Journey) have announced that the first phase of the initiative to document the path of the Prophet’s emigration has been completed.

The work with specialists and researchers in the Prophet’s biography is part of the preparations to inaugurate the Jabal Thawr Cultural Center in Makkah, which seeks to enrich and broaden tourists’ experience. This is the aim of Samaya Investment, a company specializing in cultural projects, including national museums, exhibitions, and activities.

Samaya CEO Fawaz Al-Merhej said the “Muhajir” initiative is documenting the path of the Prophet’s emigration using modern technology in aerial documentation and panoramic photography 360.

He said that in the first phase, which was launched on Dec. 20 last year, the team sought all the locations that were cited on the path of the Prophet’s emigration, starting from Cave Thawr on Mount Thawr in Makkah, passing through 40 stations all the way to Quba Mosque in Madinah.

He said the idea of documenting the route came up when they were considering how to present the story of the Prophet’s migration in the Jabal Thawr Cultural Center.

Documentation of the path was mainly done by panoramic photography 360. During the second stage the migration of the Prophet will be digitally documented using 4K drones based on the locations’ coordinates.

The biggest challenges they faced, he said, were the bumpy roads, and the fact that some historical sites had their names changed over time.

A number of scholars specialized in Islamic history and the Prophet’s biography helped in this investigation, including Professor Mohammed bin Samil Al-Salami and Professor Saad bin Musa Al-Musa, of the Department of History and Islamic Civilization at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah, and Professor Sulaiman bin Abdullah Al-Suwaiket and Professor Abdul Aziz bin Ibrahim Al-Omari, of the Department of History and Civilization at Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, who are also members of the scientific committee of the Atlas Biography of the Prophet. Professor Abdullah bin Mustafa Al-Shanqiti, specialized in the landmarks of Madinah and the Prophet’s Biography, also participated in some stages of the project.

 


Diriyah’s historic At-Turaif ‘a new lifestyle destination’ in Saudi Arabia

Dalya Mousa  shed light on the culture, history and heritage of At-Turaif and revealed that six museums and an art district are being developed as key cultural sites in the district. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
Dalya Mousa shed light on the culture, history and heritage of At-Turaif and revealed that six museums and an art district are being developed as key cultural sites in the district. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
Updated 22 January 2022

Diriyah’s historic At-Turaif ‘a new lifestyle destination’ in Saudi Arabia

Dalya Mousa  shed light on the culture, history and heritage of At-Turaif and revealed that six museums and an art district are being developed as key cultural sites in the district. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
  • The historic district will offer world-class education to nurture the future cultural leaders of the Kingdom, including the opening of King Salman University, six academies and new public schools

RIYADH: A two-day Diriyah art forum is building links between Saudi cultural authorities as part of a broader plan to make the At-Turaif district a lifestyle and culture destination.
The Diriyah Gate Development Authority, the body overseeing the development of the historic site, is taking part in the event.
Dalya Mousa, DGDA director of culture, spoke about new projects and developments set to take place in Diriyah, including At-Turaif district, the first capital of Saudi Arabia and an important political and historical site.
Speaking on the importance of At-Turaif — one of six heritage sites recognized by UNESCO in the Kingdom — Mousa told Arab News: “When we are talking about At-Turaif, we are talking about the first Saudi capital in the 18th century.

Dalya Mousa  shed light on the culture, history and heritage of At-Turaif and revealed that six museums and an art district are being developed as key cultural sites in the district. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)

“We are talking about the foundation of the Kingdom, with really diverse cultural landscapes and architecture that goes back 300 years. We aim to show the world how people used to live here and we will include museums, galleries and ancient palaces in the plans.”
The director also shed light on the culture, history and heritage of At-Turaif and revealed that six museums and an art district are being developed as key cultural sites in the district.

Culture plays a vital role in our lives. It reflects our identity and shapes our future. Our mission is to create a best in class culture platform that connects Diriyah’s past with its present and future.

Dalya Mousa, DGDA director of culture

Mousa said: “Culture plays a vital role in our lives. It reflects our identity and shapes our future. Our mission is to create a best in class culture platform that connects Diriyah’s past with its present and future.
“When we talk about art and culture, it includes visual art, performances, commissions, collections, traditional arts and crafts, multimedia urban intervention and more,” she added.
“At-Turaif will have cultural museums, cultural academies, a cultural district and most importantly, art commissions across the master plan. We’re talking about digital libraries and archives, in-house expertise, capacity building, traditional arts and craft schools, and more.”
The historic district will also offer world-class education to nurture the future cultural leaders of the Kingdom, including the opening of King Salman University, six academies and new public schools.
Diriyah will also contain boutique hotels and resorts as part of its strategy to become a premium lifestyle destination where visitors can shop and dine in the presence of unique cultural history.
Mousa said that “working with and for the local community” will strengthen Diriyah’s creative ecosystem across cultural sectors in alignment with the Ministry of Culture’s plan to celebrate the town nationally, regionally and globally.
Launching Diriyah as the culture capital of the Middle East 2030, the Diriyah Gate Development Authority partnered with the Ministry of Culture and Diriyah Biennale Foundation on a series of multidisciplinary cultural programs to achieve that goal.


Saudi aid agency rolling out relief projects worldwide

KSrelief rolling out aid projects worldwide. (SPA)
KSrelief rolling out aid projects worldwide. (SPA)
Updated 23 January 2022

Saudi aid agency rolling out relief projects worldwide

KSrelief rolling out aid projects worldwide. (SPA)

AMMAN: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center has rolled out aid projects in numerous countries.

Winter supplies, including 8,840 blankets and 4,420 winter family packs, were distributed in the governorates of Amman, Balqa, Karak, Tafileh, and Mafraq to needy Jordanian families and Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Jordan.

This aid is part of a project implemented by the Kingdom to alleviate the suffering of disadvantaged families during winter and meet their basic needs.

Meanwhile, the prosthetic limbs and physical rehabilitation center in Seiyun, Yemen, has continued to provide medical services for Yemenis through the support of KSrelief.

FASTFACT

Since its inception in May 2015, the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center has implemented 1,814 projects worth more than $5.5 billion in 77 countries.

The center provided 1,433 services for 432 beneficiaries in one month, including the manufacturing, fitting and maintenance of prosthetic limbs for 169 patients, covering delivery, measurement and maintenance services.

It provided other treatments for 263 patients, including physical therapy and consultation sessions.

It comes as part of the Kingdom’s efforts, represented by KSrelief, to improve the capacities of the health sector in Yemen.

In Afghanistan, KSrelief is distributing food and providing shelter to needy families as part of the Saudi relief airlift to support the Afghan people. It distributed nearly 19 tons of aid, which included 300 food baskets, 600 flour bags and 250 blankets in the Qala-e-Fathullah district of Kabul, helping 300 families.

The center has continued to distribute aid to those affected by the floods and to the neediest families in Sudan. It distributed more than 12 tons of food baskets in the Omdurman locality, benefiting 2,100 people.

Worldwide, KSrelief has implemented 1,814 projects worth more than $5.5 billion in 77 countries, carried out in cooperation with 144 local, regional and international partners since the inception of the center in May 2015.

According to a recent KSrelief report, the countries and territories that benefited the most from the center’s various projects were Yemen, Palestine, with projects worth $368 million, Syria ($322 million) and Somalia ($209 million).