Saudi authorities detain 18 suspects over violating Hajj rules

The Interior Ministry announced on Friday that the Hajj Security Forces apprehended 18 suspects at Makkah’s entrances for violating Hajj rules and regulations by transporting 91 persons without Hajj permits. (SPA)
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Updated 14 June 2024
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Saudi authorities detain 18 suspects over violating Hajj rules

  • The suspects, a GCC national, an expatriate and 16 Saudi citizens, were detained on Thursday
  • Offenders will be detained for 15 days each and fined SR10,000 against each person transported

MINA: The Interior Ministry announced on Friday that the Hajj Security Forces apprehended 18 suspects at Makkah’s entrances for violating Hajj rules and regulations by transporting 91 persons without Hajj permits.
The Saudi Press Agency reported that the suspects, a GCC national, an expatriate and 16 Saudi citizens, were detained on Thursday.
The General Directorate of Passports’ seasonal administrative committees issued against the offenders 18 administrative decisions, including a prison sentence for a period of 15 days for each transporter, and a fine of SR10,000 ($2,666).
Fines are multiplied against transporters according to the total number of persons (without Hajj permits) transported.
Meanwhile, expatriate offenders will be deported after serving their punishments and will be prevented from entering the Kingdom for the periods specified by the pertinent laws.
The offenders will be named and shamed, and the authorities have also impounded the two vehicles used in transportation.
The Interior Ministry called on citizens and expatriates to abide by Hajj rules and regulations so that pilgrims could enjoy safety, security and comfort while performing their rituals.


Saudi Endowment Authority tops government employee engagement rankings

Updated 41 sec ago
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Saudi Endowment Authority tops government employee engagement rankings

  • Ceremony highlights positive competition

RIYADH: The Saudi General Authority for Awqaf has claimed top spot in the 2023 Government Sector Employee Engagement Awards.

The authority’s impressive 89.20 percent engagement rate was top of all government institutions, councils, and public bodies in the Kingdom, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

In a ceremony which highlighted positive competition and human resource development in the endowment sector, Minister of Human Resources and Social Development Ahmad bin Sulaiman Al-Rajhi presented the award to Imad bin Saleh Al-Kharashi, governor of the General Authority for Awqaf.

The award aims to foster positive competition among government entities, while emphasizing the importance of organizational goals to employees, encouraging innovative solutions, developing staff skills, and improving productivity.

These factors contribute to enhancing and developing the work environment.

The award’s evaluation considered several key indicators: practical purpose with a positive sector impact; leadership alignment with the authority’s strategy and goals; innovation encouragement; effective team collaboration; continuous professional development contributing to the endowment sector’s growth; high performance directed toward impactful programs; and a stable work environment focused on quality and excellence.

The authority’s climb from second place in 2022 to first in 2023 reflected a notable increase in employee engagement, which rose from 86 percent to 89.20 percent.

This improvement was driven by various initiatives, including strengthening institutional culture; enhancing the work environment through events that promoted employee integration; fostering a culture of cooperation and transparency; recognition programs; stimulating creative ideas; and empowerment.

This recognition not only highlights the authority’s internal success but also reinforces its strategic direction in talent acquisition.

The General Authority for Awqaf is dedicated to enhancing, governing, and preserving the endowment sector.

It aims to develop and raise awareness through innovative endowment products and services, positioning the sector as a leader in sustainable development both locally and globally.

The authority focuses on implementing best practices and establishing regulations to advance and empower endowment work.


Saudi military industries authority to participate in Farnborough airshow

Updated 17 July 2024
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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.