2m pilgrims arrive at Mina as Hajj pinnacle nears

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More than 2 million pilgrims from around the world spent Tarwiyah Day in Mina on Friday. (AN photo by Hashim Nadeem)
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More than 2 million pilgrims from around the world spent Tarwiyah Day in Mina on Friday. (AN photo by Hashim Nadeem)
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More than 2 million pilgrims from around the world spent Tarwiyah Day in Mina on Friday. (AN photo by Hashim Nadeem)
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More than 2 million pilgrims from around the world spent Tarwiyah Day in Mina on Friday. (AN photo by Hashim Nadeem)
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More than 2 million pilgrims from around the world spent Tarwiyah Day in Mina on Friday. (AN photo by Hashim Nadeem)
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More than 2 million pilgrims from around the world spent Tarwiyah Day in Mina on Friday. (AN photo by Hashim Nadeem)
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Updated 15 June 2024
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2m pilgrims arrive at Mina as Hajj pinnacle nears

  • Thousands of health, security workers on call to ensure smooth journey for visitors
  • 70,000 worshippers have already benefited from medical services, ministry says

MINA: More than 2 million pilgrims from around the world spent Tarwiyah Day in Mina on Friday as they prepare for the most important day of Hajj. 

The pilgrims followed in the footsteps of Prophet Mohammed as they made their final preparations for Waqfah at Arafat, the pinnacle of the annual pilgrimage, on Saturday.

Efficient traffic and security planning by the relevant authorities allowed the worshippers to make smooth progress, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The Ministry of Health has mobilized more than 34,000 physicians, nurses, pharmacists and administrative staff to ensure the well-being of the pilgrims. There are also 730 ambulances and seven air ambulances available to provide medical assistance and transport people to any one of the 189 dedicated hospitals, medical centers and mobile clinics.

The ministry said that since June 7, its medical centers had performed 180 heart operations on pilgrims and that more than 470 worshippers had undergone dialysis.

As of Tuesday, more than 70,000 pilgrims had benefited from medical services provided by the ministry, it said.

With the temperature rising to 43 degrees Celsius in some areas, the ministry urged all pilgrims to use umbrellas to protect themselves from the heat of the sun and drink plenty of water.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Fayyadh bin Hamed Al-Ruwaili said the Kingdom’s armed forces were playing a key role in keeping visitors safe. He recently made an inspection tour of those units involved in this year’s Hajj to ensure their readiness to serve.

Speaking on social media, Minister of Hajj and Umrah Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said: “With the holy sites fully prepared, we extend a warm welcome to all pilgrims embarking on their Hajj journey.”

He also announced the introduction of the Nusuk Card, which helps to identify authorized pilgrims by providing their personal details and information about their accommodation at the holy sites. Carrying the card is mandatory for all visitors throughout the Hajj period.

The Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing is also helping to ensure this year’s pilgrimage goes well by providing 22,000 workers and 88,000 waste containers at the holy sites.




Pilgrims started Hajj by praying Fajr in the Grand Mosque in Makkah. (SPA)

Mohammad Asim Khan is a software engineer from India whose childhood wish was to come to Hajj and perform the religious rituals.

“It’s a very amazing experience. All the atmosphere and everything, all the arrangements are very good here. I am really liking it … The kind of arrangement that Saudi people are doing here, and the volunteers are helping each other. Everybody is doing great work here.”

Youssef Bendib, a pilgrim from Morocco, is performing Hajj for the first time and is preparing for Arafat, which is described as the pinnacle for Hajj and Muslims around the world. It reflect the actions of pilgrims by asking for forgiveness and praying for their deepest wishes.

“This is my first time, and this is really something amazing. And this is something that we cannot even explain by words. So, we are here with our guest of Allah … This is really something that I would like every Muslim to do in at least one thing in their life.”

Faisal Jariwala, a pilgrim from India, is also performing Hajj for the first time. He highlights the Kingdom’s initiatives to stay cool during the high temperatures of the Hajj season.

“It’s a very good feeling because it’s a very important pilgrimage for Muslims … The management is very good. Despite the temperature outside, although it’s 45 to 46 degrees Celsius, inside here we don’t feel it.”


Saudi military industries authority to participate in Farnborough airshow

Updated 49 min 3 sec ago
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Saudi military industries authority to participate in Farnborough airshow

  • Participation in FIA aims to highlight the capabilities of the Saudi military and defense industries sector
  • GAMI welcomes investors from around the world who are interested in investing in the military industries sector

RIYADH: The General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI) will participate in the Farnborough International Airshow (FIA) 2024, one of the world’s largest and most influential defense and aerospace exhibitions.

The event will occur from July 22 to 26, 2024, in Hampshire, London, United Kingdom.

GAMI aims to showcase its efforts in developing the military industries sector in Saudi Arabia, with the goal of enhancing national military manufacturing capabilities and making the sector a significant contributor to the Saudi economy and its defense and security independence.

The participation in FIA aims to highlight the capabilities of the Saudi military and defense industries sector and the achievements made by GAMI in building industrial and service capabilities in the Kingdom, in line with its strategic role in localizing over 50 percent of government spending on military equipment and services by 2030.

GAMI welcomes investors from around the world who are interested in investing in the promising military industries sector in the Kingdom.

The authority will showcase the supply chains it has established for small and medium-sized local and foreign companies as part of its efforts to create numerous investment opportunities in the military industries sector, in addition to strengthening international partnerships to achieve strategic independence for the military industries.

This will enable the sector to develop military and security systems and industries.

This participation comes at a time of rapid development and localization in the military industries sector in the Kingdom, as well as an increase in investment opportunities and abundant local capabilities to meet the operational needs of military devices.

It is in line with the Kingdom’s focus on the sector by creating strategic partnerships and engaging with international investors interested in investing in Saudi Arabia.


AlUla forges ahead with prestigious accreditation award

Updated 17 July 2024
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AlUla forges ahead with prestigious accreditation award

  • Process required satisfying more than 100 performance standards
  • Phillip Jones: Completing the DMAP is a significant milestone for AlUla as we strive to develop a tourism industry and eco-system that is best-in-class and future-thinking

ALULA, Saudi Arabia: AlUla, with its seamless blend of ancient and modern, has been awarded a prestigious internationally recognized accreditation.

The oasis city has achieved a remarkable milestone by becoming the first destination in the Middle East to be accredited by Destinations International; the USA based global association for destination professionals, as officially announced today at the Destinations International Annual Convention in Florida.

The accreditation falls under the Destination Marketing Accreditation Programme (DMAP), an industry standard for quality and professionalism among destination organizations and comes a year after AlUla made history by becoming the first member of Destinations International from the Middle East.

Supported by a calendar of year-round events and authentic hospitality options, AlUla is as one of Saudi Arabia’s main tourism sites and has been operational and open to global tourists for four years. The latest accreditation is testament to AlUla’s vision and mission to spark a new wave of tourism excellence globally, centered around creating a sustainable, community-oriented experience economy.

Phillip Jones, chief tourism officer at the Royal Commission for AlUla, said: “Completing the Destination Marketing Accreditation Programme is a significant milestone for AlUla as we strive to develop a tourism industry and eco-system that is best-in-class and future-thinking. This recognition strengthens our commitment to ensuring the highest standards within our destination, and establishing trust among visitors, community, stakeholders and our partners. By being part of Destinations International, an incubator for best practices, we hope to share our unique methodology with the world and showcase just why AlUla is one of the most innovative and coveted luxury destination in the world right now.”

To receive DMAP accreditation, a destination organization must satisfy more than 100 performance standards in domains including governance, financial management, human resources, sales and marketing, stakeholder engagement and destination development. The standards are set by an independent panel of industry veterans representing a range of destination organizations. Standards are updated regularly to reflect the evolution of best practices in the industry.

For AlUla, this latest recognition adds to several recent accolades. In May, the 2024 World Travel Awards honored AlUla as Middle East’s Leading Festival & Event Destination, Saudi Arabia’s Leading Cultural Tourism Project and Middle East’s Leading Cultural Tourism Project. Also in May, RCU received a five-star rating for organizational excellence from the European Foundation for Quality Management and an award of excellence from the Middle East Facility Management Association.

With its bevy of regional and global accolades, AlUla continues to solidify its status as a leading luxury boutique heritage destination, where travelers can deeply connect with arts and culture, natural beauty, holistic wellness, and thrilling adventure.


RSG partners with Saudi Climbing and Hiking Federation to boost adventure tourism

Updated 17 July 2024
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RSG partners with Saudi Climbing and Hiking Federation to boost adventure tourism

  • Collaboration is set to revolutionize the tourism landscape by offering thrilling experiences while prioritizing safety and professionalism
  • Partnership will be spearheaded by Akun, RSG’s adventure sports brand, responsible for overseeing all hiking, climbing, and adventure experiences within RSG’s destinations

JEDDAH: Red Sea Global has recently announced a partnership with the Saudi Climbing and Hiking Federation aimed at enhancing adventure tourism activities across the Red Sea region.

According to the statement, this collaboration is set to revolutionize the tourism landscape by offering thrilling experiences while prioritizing safety and professionalism.

The partnership will be spearheaded by Akun, RSG’s adventure sports brand responsible for overseeing all hiking, climbing, and adventure experiences within RSG’s destinations, including The Red Sea and AMAALA.

Nicholas King, group chief development officer at Red Sea Global, emphasized the importance of combining adventure with luxury tourism, stating in a press release: “Our partnership with the Saudi Climbing and Hiking Federation is ensuring that Akun can offer invigorating experiences that complement the elegance of our resorts in a safe and professional manner. Together, we are propelling the adventure tourism industry across the Red Sea region.”

Through this collaboration, trainees from SCHF will have the opportunity to gain experience through internships with Akun, while also benefiting from training and support provided by qualified SCHF trainers.

Yasmin Gahtani, managing director at SCHF, highlighted the landscapes of Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast and expressed the desire to showcase these stunning terrains through climbing and hiking experiences.

She said: “Saudi Arabia has some of the world’s most stunning landscapes, especially along the Red Sea coast. We want to help Saudis and the world discover this dramatic terrain by opening it to exhilarating, yet safe, climbing and hiking experiences. Through this partnership, we can make Saudi and the Red Sea a must-visit destination for the most avid climbers, hikers, and thrill-seekers.”

To promote the Red Sea region as a premier adventure destination, RSG and SCHF plan to host a series of local, regional, and international events, including climbing competitions, hiking events, and festivals.

According to the statement, the federation’s technical and safety assessments will help certify RSG’s developments as world-class adventure destinations.

Looking ahead, RSG and SCHF are exploring the creation of hiking and climbing content tailored to the Red Sea region. This resource will offer valuable information on trails, climbing sites, logistical details, and safety guidelines, positioning the Red Sea as a premier hub for outdoor enthusiasts worldwide.


Training for budding nuclear engineers launched in Saudi Arabia

Updated 17 July 2024
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Training for budding nuclear engineers launched in Saudi Arabia

  • Eight-week program will be held partly in Saudi Arabia and later at the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute in South Korea

RIYADH: The Kingdom has launched a summer training program for aspiring nuclear engineers, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

The initiative, spearheaded by the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy and King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, targets undergraduate nuclear engineering students.

According to the SPA, the eight-week program will be held partly in Saudi Arabia and later at the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute in South Korea.

The curriculum includes lectures and practical experiments, in addition to visits to nuclear facilities and reactors in South Korea.

According to the SPA, the initiative is a part of the Kingdom’s plan to develop an educated workforce for its nuclear energy industry.


Saudi crown prince congratulates Iran’s President Pezeshkian on his election win

Updated 17 July 2024
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Saudi crown prince congratulates Iran’s President Pezeshkian on his election win

RIYADH: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has congratulated Iranian President Masoud Pezeshkian on his victory in the presidential elections, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday. 

During a phone call, the crown prince and the Iranian president praised the “development of bilateral relations between the two countries on several levels, stressing the importance of continuing to enhance cooperation in various fields,” SPA added.

The Iranian president expressed his thanks and appreciation to the crown prince for his good feelings.