Local businesses looking forward to lucrative Hajj season post-pandemic

Local businesses looking forward to lucrative Hajj season post-pandemic
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Elaf Al-Mashaer, a local five-star hotel, is all set to welcome over 20,000 pilgrims this year. (Supplied)
Local businesses looking forward to lucrative Hajj season post-pandemic
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(Supplied)
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Updated 30 June 2022

Local businesses looking forward to lucrative Hajj season post-pandemic

Local businesses looking forward to lucrative Hajj season post-pandemic
  • The pandemic put a halt to the Hajj for two years, leading to huge losses for some families who solely depended on the pilgrimage season to reap its financial rewards

MAKKAH: Residents of Makkah benefit financially during the Hajj as millions of people from all over the world converge on the holy city to perform the annual pilgrimage.  

But the pandemic put a halt to the Hajj for two years, leading to huge losses for some families who solely depended on the pilgrimage season to reap its financial rewards.  

Elaf Al-Mashaer, a local five-star hotel, is all set to welcome over 20,000 pilgrims this year, and the team has prepared the place to be as comfortable as possible to ensure a smooth stay for guests.

“We must know the number of guests who will stay in the hotel and their nationalities so that we can provide them with what they need,” hotel owner Abdulaziz Al-Sharbeeni told Arab News.

The 304-room establishment has several restaurants to cater to guests’ palates. “Each nationality has its own culture or a certain way of eating. We have Indian, Pakistani, East Asian, and Arabic restaurants.”




(Supplied)

It has also made modifications and preparations to make the rooms and suites accessible to people with disabilities.

“Some pilgrims come alone, so we give them a room on request, while others come with their families, so we give them a suite,” Al-Sharbeeni said. “There is a target we must achieve during the Hajj season as a facility, and the most important seasons in the year to achieve these financial goals are the Ramadan and Hajj seasons.”

The Hajj season attracts a large and diverse crowd, and everyone who visits Makkah enjoys shopping for gifts. They also use taxis, hospitals, restaurants, and other services and amenities, providing locals with many economic opportunities.

“I sell gold in the local market, and Hajj season is considered our opportunity to reach the target. So I’m more than happy that Hajj is back because we miss the pilgrims and we love interacting with them and welcoming them,” said Ahmed Al-Suliman.

Al-Suliman said there were more opportunities for work during the Hajj as significant manpower was required to serve, manage, and help with the influx of pilgrims.

“The people of Makkah, in particular, want to take advantage of the Hajj season. Young and old are working this season, and even if someone sells a bottle of water for SR1 ($0.27), he will earn a lot of money. You can apply for seasonal field jobs through the website of the Ministry of Hajj and the official platforms.”


Saudi nutritionist uses his weight loss journey to inspire others

The weight-loss milestones of 24-year-old Salam Farid Azam has been a motivation for many wishing to achieve their weight goal.
The weight-loss milestones of 24-year-old Salam Farid Azam has been a motivation for many wishing to achieve their weight goal.
Updated 16 August 2022

Saudi nutritionist uses his weight loss journey to inspire others

The weight-loss milestones of 24-year-old Salam Farid Azam has been a motivation for many wishing to achieve their weight goal.
  • Durham University graduate talks up need for Saudi culture not to conflate its famed generosity with food

RIYADH: Unhealthy food and fitness habits are on the rise among Saudi youth, and maintaining a healthy weight has become a concern.

The weight-loss milestones of 24-year-old Salam Farid Azam has been a motivation for many wishing to achieve their weight goal.

Azam’s priority is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. He lost 25 kg through his balanced habits, which have been cultivated through his educational experience in human nutrition and behavioral science.

Now, he has a mission to help others bury their weakening cycles of poor habits.

FASTFACTS

• Salam Farid Azam’s priority is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. He lost 25 kg through his balanced habits, which have been cultivated through his educational experience in human nutrition and behavioral science.

• Now, he has a mission to help others bury their weakening cycles of poor habits.

Azam created his consultation platform, Sehha W Salam, two months ago.

“Sehha W Salam is a platform that’s trying to improve the overall health of people in society through personal consultations tailored to them,” Azam told Arab News.

“Consultants will try to enhance the behaviors and nutrition of people who come. They will try to understand the issues people are struggling with,” he said.

Qualified consultants create an in-depth case study of clients’ issues. Nutritional meal plans, exercises, and a combination of behavioral consultations are then applied, with prices dependent on how complex a case is.

“I am a registered associate nutritionist from the Association of Nutrition in the UK. I might recruit more qualified people with both qualifications in behavioral science and nutrition,” he said.

“The most convenient way of reaching me is through Instagram which is @sehhawsalam. Consultations will be held virtually over any video meeting platforms, or we can do it by visiting each other.”

Azam started his journey in the UK after high school. He was inspired to study nutrition because he was overweight during his adolescence.

“I thought of studying nutrition because I used to be overweight (at) around 13 years old. I was suffering from it. It affected me in terms of confidence in myself, my general well-being, I was shy, I was not socializing in general. I thought ‘I need to make a decision because I am not who I am’,” he said.

“I stayed at home all the time and played PlayStation and video games. I used to eat a lot, all the time, and I was unaware of my health. I used to play center back, the defending position in football, from primary school until I was 14. My colleagues and football team members (then) told me I need to play as a goalkeeper — I am not giving a bad impression of being a goalkeeper, but it’s usually given to people who don’t give a good impression of running. I was feeling rejected,” he explained.

Website surfing and Instagram accounts with nutritional information were the first source of awareness for Azam’s weight loss, before expanding his passion for nutrition at university.

“I chose Kingston University. I did my bachelor’s of science in human nutrition, and I was one of the top students in (the) university,” he said.

Azam complemented his bachelor’s with a master’s degree in behavioral sciences at Durham, one of the UK’s leading universities.

“We learned a lot about behavioral aspects of psychology. Choice architecture is a concept that looks at whether items are on an eye-level,” he said. “Changing the position of these unhealthy food products affects people’s choices. They crave these foods when they see it.”

Losing weight was difficult at first for Azam, especially without surgical intervention. His focus on food quality, avoiding fast food, and exercising gave a positive turn in all aspects surrounding his life.

“After I lost weight, I couldn’t describe how comfortable I felt. I started socializing, anticipating. I became very confident in myself. I started joining societies, leading them, going into positions of trust, and all of that. Nutrition can help people achieve their best,” said Azam.

Generosity is a key component of Saudi culture, and Azam believes that generosity and showing appreciation should not always be correlated with food — gratitude can be expressed in many ways. Food for him is not always for pleasure, but instead, mostly for survival.

“Saudi society is generous and we conflate it with food. I see people providing a generous quantity of food to guests, and they are treating it as generosity, which isn’t always healthy,” he said.

“Today’s doll-like body standards can be dangerous,” he added.

Azam said he places an importance in a Hadith that translates as: “No man fills a container worse than his stomach. A few morsels that keep his back upright are sufficient for him. If he has to, then he should keep one-third for food, one-third for water and one-third for breathing.”

He greatly appreciates the Kingdom’s efforts in looking out for the health of people in Saudi Arabia.

“I am really glad I am helping my country. Saudi Arabia is doing a really great job at the moment, especially in the health field. I am very proud to be Saudi, and I also look forward to improving my community and taking pride in doing so,” he said.

 


Saudi justice minister issues 2,317 law practice licenses

Minister of Justice Walid Al-Samaani. (SPA)
Minister of Justice Walid Al-Samaani. (SPA)
Updated 15 August 2022

Saudi justice minister issues 2,317 law practice licenses

Minister of Justice Walid Al-Samaani. (SPA)
  • Services for lawyers offered through the Najiz portal include applying for a law practice license and renewal of licenses

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Justice Walid Al-Samaani has issued 2,317 and renewed 1,082 law practice licenses in the past 12 months.

The ministry has said that it is focusing its efforts on vocational training as an essential part of the justice system, providing professional advice to safeguard people’s interests.

Inquiries about licensed lawyers can be made through a list of lawyers classified by name and city, as well as queries about the status of filed applications and other services, the ministry said.

Services for lawyers offered through the Najiz portal include applying for a law practice license and renewal of licenses.

A trainee lawyers’ service allows applicants to register and receive a “trainee lawyer identification certificate” electronically.

The portal also has a transfer service for lawyers and can issue new electronic “trainee lawyer identification certificates.”

 


Saudi Arabia’s NELC launches advanced online learning courses

The participants will receive training from specialists in the sector before having to undergo examinations. (AFP)
The participants will receive training from specialists in the sector before having to undergo examinations. (AFP)
Updated 16 August 2022

Saudi Arabia’s NELC launches advanced online learning courses

The participants will receive training from specialists in the sector before having to undergo examinations. (AFP)
  • Places for over 4,000 students and teachers on offer

RIYADH: The National eLearning Center in Riyadh has now invited applications for three new advanced-level professional job courses that seeks to prepare students and teachers to become experts at online education.

Places are open for 4,359 students, both male and female, who can apply until Oct. 9.

The first is certification targeting teachers, faculty members, trainers, and all e-learning, and training program providers.

The second is an education experience design and e-learning (eLXD) course aimed at educators and tech-learning specialists.

The third is an e-learning quality control certificate (eLQA) targeting those in the field including education app arbitrators and supervisors, and school administrators.

The certificate program allows young professionals to get a competitive advantage in the e-education and training field.

The participants will receive training from specialists in the sector before having to undergo examinations.

The courses are being offered in collaboration with the Education and Training Evaluation Commission represented by Qiyas, the National Center for Assessment.

 


Saudi aid agency’s Noor program provides gift of sight

KSrelief continues to oversee several health and welfare projects across the world for those most in need. (SPA)
KSrelief continues to oversee several health and welfare projects across the world for those most in need. (SPA)
Updated 16 August 2022

Saudi aid agency’s Noor program provides gift of sight

KSrelief continues to oversee several health and welfare projects across the world for those most in need. (SPA)
  • Thousands treated for eye ailments, given spectacles

JEDDAH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, or KSrelief, has this month completed several projects that treated thousands of people with poor vision.

The Noor program’s doctors performed several life-changing procedures in Nigeria, Morocco and Bangladesh.

In Tahnaout, Morocco, the center completed 567 surgeries, provided 1,217 spectacles, and conducted 3,000 medical examinations from Aug. 1 to 8. Similar treatments took place in Chichaoua.

In Meherpur, Bangladesh, the center performed 668 cataract procedures, provided 1,716 spectacles, and conducted 10,310 medical examinations between Aug. 4 and 12.

In Kano, Nigeria, KSrelief concluded the second phase of its free eye operations between Aug. 9 and 14. This project was supported by the Ihsan campaign in cooperation with Al-Basar International Foundation.

KSrelief continues to oversee several health and welfare projects across the world for those most in need.

 


Who’s Who: Abdulaziz Saja, general manager of Tabby Saudi Arabia

Abdulaziz Saja
Abdulaziz Saja
Updated 15 August 2022

Who’s Who: Abdulaziz Saja, general manager of Tabby Saudi Arabia

Abdulaziz Saja

Abdulaziz Saja is the general manager of Tabby Saudi Arabia, one of the leading buy now, pay later financial technology companies in Saudi Arabia.

Tabby is a platform that offers financial freedom to its users with BNPL options for over 4,000 brands operating in the Kingdom, the UAE and Kuwait.

Saja is in charge of Tabby’s operations, including hiring, business development, compliance, legal and growth activities in the Kingdom.

Born and raised in Riyadh, he studied finance with a minor degree in economics at the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals.

He started his career in commercial banking, working in multiple banks for around five years.

He then decided to pursue a master’s degree in business administration with the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, later switching careers to management consulting.

After working as an associate with McKinsey & Co. for two years, Hosam Arab, co-founder and CEO of Tabby, approached Saja to join his team as general manager in 2019.

In February 2020, Tabby launched its commercial operations in the UAE. A launch in the Kingdom followed soon after in July 2020, along with approval to join the Saudi Central Bank’s Sandbox environment, bringing BNPL officially to the Kingdom in October 2020.

Saja continues to lead Tabby’s efforts in the Kingdom with plans to roll out new and exciting products in the future.