MoE’s tourism role stressed

Updated 20 March 2016

MoE’s tourism role stressed

JEDDAH: Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH), has explored with Education Minister Ahmed Al-Issa partnership programs being implemented by the SCTNH, the ministry and other agencies.

Following the meeting, which was attended by SCTNH and ministry officials at the SCTNH premises last Thursday, Prince Sultan stressed that the Ministry of Education is one of major partners of the SCTNH and a key player in tourism development by educating the young on the history, heritage and achievements of their country.
In this context, he expressed appreciation for the efforts of former Education Minister Azzam Al-Dakhil for his care and concern over the partnership programs between the ministry and SCTNH.
Prince Sultan said the Ministry of Education is the key partner in the project of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for Caring of Cultural Heritage in addition to its partnership in the “Live Saudi Arabia” program.
The latter aims to encourage young Saudis to visit regions of the Kingdom to interact with their historic and tourist areas instead of depending only on books.
He said the role of the SCTNH is complementary to the ministry’s role in boosting citizenship for the youths as indicated by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman at a meeting of the King Abdulaziz Research Center (Darah) when he stressed that citizens, notably youths, have to live in the country and know the era of its foundation and unification.
Prince Sultan said they also explored how students could exploit the upcoming summer holidays through tourist activities and programs, particularity the “live Saudi Arabia” program, where they become acquainted with their country and, at the same time, support the tourism and national heritage sector.
Furthermore, the meeting discussed the organization of school holidays and assessment of these holidays in the last 10 years as tourism is one of affecting and being affected by holidays, he pointed out.
For his part, the minister of education affirmed that the SCTNH and the ministry are cooperating in a number of programs related to tourism and education, adding that the SCTNH has a major role in the development of tourism in the Kingdom.
The minister said they are looking at the economic system in the Kingdom as one in which all sectors are contributing. “Our role at the Ministry of Education is, no doubt, enormous through a large sector comprising more than 5 million male and female students in general education, and thousands of university students, in addition to its responsibility of spreading the importance of tourism, national heritage and the promotion of citizenship among students,” he said.

Home alone: Saudis and expats try to beat the holiday blues

Updated 7 min 49 sec ago

Home alone: Saudis and expats try to beat the holiday blues

  • People celebrating Eid alone or abroad find ways to stay positive

JEDDAH: For different reasons many people living in the Kingdom have found themselves alone for the holidays due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, their spirits dampened as they are forced to stay home alone, away from loved ones.

As the pandemic enters its third month in Saudi Arabia, flights have not yet resumed, strict social distancing and safety measures are still in place and curfews have been reimposed to curb the spread of the virus during the Eid holidays.

Many families are stranded in cities across the Kingdom, while Saudis studying and working abroad are either stuck or have chosen to spend summer where they are out of fear they will not be able to return and start their new semesters.

Some people were able to move in with their families and quarantine together, while others were deprived of that chance.

A number of Saudi nationals, including students, have been repatriated in the past couple of weeks while others are still waiting for their turn.

Yousef Al-Ayesh, a 21-year-old senior student at Arizona State University, has been at home since late March as a precautionary measure.

He said that Eid with his family in Jeddah was one event that everyone looked forward to all year long. Under normal circumstances the first three days of Eid would be filled with events — family dinners at night and beach excursions during the day. Although he would be sleep-deprived, he would still make the most of the little time he spent with his family due to his studies.

“With all that’s going on, it doesn’t even feel like it’s Eid,” he told Arab News. 

“It most probably would have been different if I was back in Saudi Arabia but I still wouldn’t have been able to celebrate it the same way. It’s not that bad here (in the US) now since restaurants have reopened and my friends and I have the outdoors to enjoy, have a barbecue, or just hang out. I would have felt worse if I was alone. Ramadan was already odd enough, I don’t think I would have been OK if it were the case without them.”

Although his family lives 8,000 miles away he did not feel alone as his group of friends decided to celebrate together, even without the perks of new clothes and eidiyas from aunts and uncles.

It’s an exceptional year for us and one that is teaching us a lesson on various levels, but we must adapt either way.

Fareed Abdullah Fareed

Al-Ayesh hoped to be repatriated to the Kingdom soon and spend some time with his family after his mandatory quarantine.

Fareed Abdullah Fareed, a 29-year-old expat working and living in Riyadh, said this year’s Eid was tough without his family.

Although he is used to living alone because of his job, Eid was the one occasion he looked forward to the most every year because he got to travel to Cairo and be with his family.

“My family moved from Jeddah to Cairo about four or five years ago and Eid is a significant occasion in the family, Eid Al-Fitr is significantly more special than Eid Al-Adha even,” he told Arab News. “I look forward to traveling to see them every year since moving to Riyadh but wasn’t able to with the lockdown, so we all got together on FaceTime video call and spent the whole day speaking to family members.”

Like many expats, Fareed has spent the past months at home and said it was hard for him and his family but that communication had made the ordeal slightly easier.

“It’s an exceptional year for us and one that is teaching us a lesson on various levels, but we must adapt either way,” he added.