Saudi Red Sea Authority begins license inspections for tourism activities

An aerial picture shows a view of the Red Sea coast near Saudi Arabia’s Yanbu. (File/AFP)
An aerial picture shows a view of the Red Sea coast near Saudi Arabia’s Yanbu. (File/AFP)
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Updated 05 January 2024
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Saudi Red Sea Authority begins license inspections for tourism activities

Saudi Red Sea Authority begins license inspections for tourism activities

RIYADH: Saudi Red Sea Authority, the key regulator of coastal tourism activities in the Kingdom’s Red Sea, has begun inspections as a prerequisite for issuing licenses to conduct coastal tourism activities, the authority said on Thursday.

The inspections were initiated with 14 visits in Jeddah, Jazan and Al-Laith, as a requirement to license marina operators and maritime tourism agents, in line with the new regulations that came into effect on Nov. 5, 2023.

The regulations follow collaboration between SRSA and partners from the public and private sectors, and play a key role in fulfilling the authority’s mission to facilitate a flourishing coastal tourism industry, while ensuring environmental sustainability.

Licensing tourist marina operators will facilitate the management of marina operations, elevate customer service, and ensure a safe environment for yachts and those visiting the Red Sea.

The new coastal tourism licenses represent a pioneering step in developing coastal tourism in Saudi Arabia.

SRSA said it remains committed to collaborating with its public and private sector partners to enable navigational and marine tourism activities along the Red Sea coast in line with Saudi Vision 2030 goals.

The authority was established in November 2021 to regulate navigational and marine tourism activities.


267,657 pilgrims have arrived so far in Saudi Arabia ahead of Hajj

267,657 pilgrims have arrived so far in Saudi Arabia ahead of Hajj
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267,657 pilgrims have arrived so far in Saudi Arabia ahead of Hajj

267,657 pilgrims have arrived so far in Saudi Arabia ahead of Hajj
  • This year’s Hajj, for the Hijri year 1445, is expected to begin on June 14 and conclude on June 19

RIYADH: As of May 19, 267,657 pilgrims had arrived in Saudi Arabia via air, land and sea ahead of Hajj, according to the General Directorate of Passports.
The directorate said it is using all of its resources to ensure entry procedures for pilgrims at all arrival points run as smoothly as possible by providing platforms that use the latest technical advances and fully trained staff proficient in many languages, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
This year’s Hajj, for the Hijri year 1445, is expected to begin on June 14 and conclude on June 19. Flights carrying pilgrims began to arrive in the Kingdom on May 9.


Scheme to ‘humanize’ pilgrim services during Hajj season

Scheme focuses on taking care of the sick, the elderly, and people with disabilities who are visiting the two holy mosques.
Scheme focuses on taking care of the sick, the elderly, and people with disabilities who are visiting the two holy mosques.
Updated 20 May 2024
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Scheme to ‘humanize’ pilgrim services during Hajj season

Scheme focuses on taking care of the sick, the elderly, and people with disabilities who are visiting the two holy mosques.
  • Scheme focuses on taking care of the sick, the elderly, and people with disabilities who are visiting the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque

RIYADH: The Presidency of Religious Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque recently launched the Humanitarians (Ensaniyoun) initiative as part of the 2024 Hajj season, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The scheme aims to enrich the experience of pilgrims by humanizing the services provided by the presidency. It focuses on taking care of the sick, the elderly, and people with disabilities who are visiting the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque, creating an appropriate worship environment for them.

Sheikh Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, head of Religious Affairs at the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque, said: “The Humanitarians initiative aims to enhance behavior and humanize the services provided by the presidency across its various sectors and departments ... creating an appropriate worship environment for pilgrims, and facilitating their access to religious services without effort or hardship.”

The initiative encourages specialization among employees and the use of flexible technology and digitization to meet religious needs, Al-Sudais said.

He added: “This commitment to humanitarian responsibility, amid the extensive religious work in the Two Holy Mosques and their global outreach, reflects the belief that balanced institutional giving leads to human and global success stories. By maintaining this balance, we achieve success in the rituals of Hajj and in serving pilgrims.”

The Humanitarians initiative aligns with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 by enhancing the religious and humanitarian services provided to pilgrims.


Saudi Reef program provides $37.3m of support to Kingdom’s honey industry

Saudi Reef program provides $37.3m of support to Kingdom’s honey industry
Updated 20 May 2024
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Saudi Reef program provides $37.3m of support to Kingdom’s honey industry

Saudi Reef program provides $37.3m of support to Kingdom’s honey industry
  • Sustainable Agricultural Rural Development Program celebrates World Bee Day by highlighting its achievements in its support of the sector
  • Honey production in the Kingdom reached 3,120 tons last year; aim is to produce 7,500 tons a year by 2026 and become self-sufficient

RIYADH: About SR140 million ($37.3 million) in funding for the honey industry in the Kingdom has helped 10,584 beneficiaries since 2020, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The recipients of the support, provided by Saudi Arabia’s Sustainable Agricultural Rural Development Program, also known as Saudi Reef, come from all parts of the country but the program said those in Asir, Hail, Makkah and Al-Baha regions benefited the most.
Saudi Reef marked World Bee Day on Monday by highlighting its notable achievements so far in supporting the local honey industry. It said production in the Kingdom reached 3,120 tons in 2023, a 41 percent increase compared with 2021, and the aim is to increase annual production to 7,500 tons by 2026 and achieve self-sufficiency.
The program said it has supported several projects vital to the sector, including the establishment of queen bee rearing and package bee production facilities in areas such as Hail, Najran, Jazan, Medina, Tabuk and Taif.
It also supplies modern beekeeping tools and spreads awareness of the latest techniques, and has set up three mobile laboratories to investigate and diagnose bee diseases and pests, along with four mobile clinics.
The program said it remains committed to providing support for beekeepers and implementing projects that benefit the honey industry, in keeping with efforts to achieve sustainable and comprehensive development in the Kingdom.
Saudi Reef aims to support environmental sustainability and diversification of the agricultural production base in the Kingdom, by aiding the development of rural communities and efforts to achieve food security.
It added that its projects provide job opportunities, help improve incomes and standards of living for small farmers, and enhance agricultural capabilities in keeping with the objectives of the Saudi Vision 2030 development and diversification plan.


Japan, Saudi Arabia FMs agree to work closely

Japan, Saudi Arabia FMs agree to work closely
Updated 20 May 2024
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Japan, Saudi Arabia FMs agree to work closely

Japan, Saudi Arabia FMs agree to work closely
  • Prince Faisal said he was keen to collaborate with Tokyo
  • Kamikawa expressed her sincere wishes for the early recovery of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman

TOKYO: Japan’s Foreign Minister Kamikawa Yoko said on Monday she hopes to work closely with Prince Faisal bin Farhan, her Saudi counterpart, on the multiple crises the world is currently facing, such as the situations in Gaza and Ukraine.
In a telephone call, Prince Faisal said he was keen to collaborate with Tokyo to allow the foreign minister to make an official visit to the Kingdom in the near future, and that he looks forward to working with Kamikawa toward stabilizing the situation in the region.
In response, Kamikawa expressed her sincere wishes for the early recovery of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and stated that Japan attaches great importance to its strategic partnership with the Kingdom and seeks to work closely with Prince Faisal.


Saudi Arabia restricts Umrah permits to Hajj permit holders

Starting May 24 until June 26, Umrah permits will only be issued to those with a confirmed Hajj permit. (@AlharamainSA)
Starting May 24 until June 26, Umrah permits will only be issued to those with a confirmed Hajj permit. (@AlharamainSA)
Updated 20 May 2024
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Saudi Arabia restricts Umrah permits to Hajj permit holders

Starting May 24 until June 26, Umrah permits will only be issued to those with a confirmed Hajj permit. (@AlharamainSA)
  • New regulation aims to manage influx during peak pilgrimage period from May 24 to June 26
  • The ministry stated that Umrah permits will not be issued to individuals without a confirmed Hajj permit

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has announced that starting May 24 until June 26, Umrah permits will only be issued to those with a confirmed Hajj permit.
The directive was issued by the ministry to facilitate Hajj pilgrims arriving in Saudi Arabia from around the world, ensuring their pilgrimage at the Grand Mosque in Makkah is conducted with ease and comfort.
The ministry stated that Umrah permits will not be issued to individuals without a confirmed Hajj permit.
This measure aims to manage the influx of pilgrims in the holy city during the busy Hajj season, ensuring a smooth experience for all pilgrims.
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah posted on X: “Defying Hajj regulations will result in severe and unwavering penalties. A fine of SR10,000 ($2,666) will be imposed on individuals caught in Makkah and the holy sites without a Hajj permit, applicable to citizens, residents, and visitors. The fine will double for repeat offenders, and resident violators face deportation and a ban from entering Saudi Arabia.”


Earlier, the Ministry of Interior announced penalties for those who violated Hajj regulations and instructions, such as those found without a permit in Makkah, the central region, the holy sites, the Haramain train station in Rusayfah, security control centers, sorting centers, and temporary security control centers. These will be effective from June 2 to June 20.
Any citizens, residents or visitors caught within the specified restricted areas without a Hajj permit will be fined SR10,000. In addition, residents face deportation to their home country and a ban from entering the Kingdom for a stipulated period.


Emphasizing the importance of adherence to Hajj regulations and instructions, the ministry stressed that the fine would be doubled for repeat offenders.
Transporting individuals without a permit is a serious offense, with penalties of up to six months in prison and a fine of up to SR50,000. The fine will increase proportionately with the number of people carried. The means of transportation will be seized and expatriate transporters will face deportation and a ban from re-entering the Kingdom for a specified period.
Members of the public are urged to report anyone breaking the rules by calling (911) in Makkah, Riyadh and the Eastern Province, and (999) in the remaining regions.
One of the five pillars of Islam, this year’s Hajj is expected to run from June 14 to June 19.