New helicopter service to satisfy growing demand for luxury tourism in Saudi Arabia

The launch of the new helicopter company is in line with the PIF’s strategy to generate sustainable returns. (AFP)
Updated 16 March 2019
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New helicopter service to satisfy growing demand for luxury tourism in Saudi Arabia

  • The Helicopter Co. will be able to provide access to remote parts of Saudi Arabia, offering a high-end experience on a par with other global destinations

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s burgeoning tourism industry has taken off in a new direction with the launch of the Kingdom’s first national commercial helicopter operation.
The Helicopter Co. will provide private air transportation services within the main cities of Saudi Arabia, along with tourist trips to top attractions throughout the Kingdom.
Tourism officials in the country welcomed the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) announcement of the launch and said the service would offer an exciting new visitor experience to leisure and business travelers.
Backed by the PIF with an initial capital outlay of SR565 million ($151 million), the initiative aims to satisfy an emerging demand for luxury tourism and exploit an untapped market for urban flights, while supporting the development of the wider aviation sector.
Omar Al-Rashood, founder of the Travel Expert Agency, said flight operations within cities would help visitors get around more quickly and avoid traffic bottlenecks. “Operating helicopters will enable tourists to experience Saudi Arabia from a whole new angle and in far fewer days than by using road transport,” he said.
Al-Rashood said he had taken a helicopter tour during a business trip to Rwanda and found it a “great” way of seeing the country.
The Helicopter Co. will be able to provide access to remote parts of the Kingdom, offering a high-end experience on a par with other global destinations. Major tourist sites such as Al-Ula and the Red Sea will now be in easy reach for those wanting to avoid lengthy journeys.
Manahil Al-Mohimeed, CEO of family-run travel firm Al-Muayed Co., said the new service would offer another boost to the national tourism economy. “It has the great advantage of reducing travel times for visitors and will cater for a specific target market.”
The launch of the new helicopter company is in line with the PIF’s strategy to generate sustainable returns, establish and develop new sectors in Saudi Arabia, and support the realization of the country’s Vision 2030 reform plan by acting as a catalyst for the tourism sector.
The PIF has a wide-ranging investment portfolio in numerous sectors of the economy which stood at $300 billion in 2018.


UN backs Saudi calls on justice, crime prevention

Abdullah bin Fakhri Al-Ansari. (Supplied)
Updated 11 min 45 sec ago
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UN backs Saudi calls on justice, crime prevention

  • KSA called on member states to review national legislation to exchange experiences and techniques to effectively combat cybercrime
  • Summit resolutions target terror, cybercrime, online child abuse

GENEVA: A UN commission on crime prevention has unanimously ratified resolutions by Saudi Arabia targeting terrorism, child exploitation and cybercrime.
The Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice ratification came during its 28th session at the UN headquarters in Vienna.
The most important of the Kingdom’s four resolutions seeks to combat child sexual exploitation through the internet, provide technical assistance for the implementation of international conventions to fight terrorism, and strengthen technical assistance and international cooperation to combat cybercrime.
Through these resolutions, the Kingdom highlighted the need for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime to help provide access to justice for victims of child sexual exploitation and abuse through the Internet according to national legislation.
Saudi Arabia called on member states to exchange experiences on raising awareness and reporting cases of child sexual abuse and exploitation and urged them to learn from the experiences of other states in fighting extremism, recruitment and incitement of individuals to carry out terrorist acts.
The Kingdom also called on member states to review national legislation to exchange experiences and techniques to effectively combat cybercrime.
Saudi Arabia emphasized the main topics to be discussed during the 14th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, to be held in Kyoto, Japan, and the need to focus on strengthening confidence in the rule of law, international coordination and cooperation in criminal matters, and deepening public-private sector partnerships in crime prevention efforts.
Addressing the commission’s 28th session, Abdullah bin Fakhri Al-Ansari, an adviser to the Saudi Interior Ministry, said that terrorism poses a major threat to international peace and security, and undermines the fundamental values ​​of the UN.
Al-Ansari, who is also the ministry’s director general of legal affairs and international cooperation, called for coordination and cooperation between states and organizations at regional and international levels to fight terrorism, exchange best practices, and assist in the investigation and prosecution of terrorism cases.
Leading the Saudi delegation at the conference, he called for the provision of technical assistance in capacity-building, prevention, awareness-raising, international cooperation, data collection, research, and analysis to combat cybercrime.
Al-Ansari stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation around the world to track down perpetrators by criminalizing the possession, distribution, and production of child sexual abuse materials.
He highlighted the importance of capacity-building, the provision of services and support to victims of child abuse through the Internet, providing training and strengthening the technical capacity of law enforcement agencies, providing technical support for the development of effective policies and programs, and implementing awareness-raising and education campaigns to protect children from abuse.