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Saudi Gazette, Thursday, July 19, 2018


Benten inspects arrangements to

receive pilgrims at Haj Terminal

First group of

Iranian pilgrims

arrives in Madinah

Saudi Gazette report


Minister of Haj and

Umrah Dr. Muhammad Saleh

Bin Taher Benten made a tour of

the Unified Agents Office at the

Haj Terminal of King Abdulaziz

International Airport on Tuesday

to inspect the arrangements for

receiving the pilgrims, the Saudi

Press Agency reported.

During the tour, Benten met

with Farouq Bin Yahya Bukhari,

chairman of the board of directors

of the office and members of the


They reviewed the operation

plan for this year’s Haj, which

called for cutting down the wait-

ing period for pilgrims at airports,

seaports and land crossing points,

apart from improving the perfor-


Stressing the importance of

raising the level of readiness,

Benten urged the staff to intensify

their efforts and improve their

performance this Haj season to

provide the best services to pil-


Bukhari said the operation

plan was tight-knit and distinc-

tive compared to previous years.

He added that the objective was

to ensure an integrated system

of high standard services for the


He said the office had held

several training courses for new-

comers to acquaint them with the

nature of work and ensure speedy

completion of procedures for

pilgrims during the arrival and

departure stages.


The Ministry of Transport said

it has completed the maintenance

Saudi Gazette report


The first batch of

Iranian pilgrims arrived in the

Kingdom via Prince Muhammad

Bin Abdulaziz International Airport

in Madinah. The rest of the 85,000

plus pilgrims from the country will

arrive at King Abdulaziz Interna-

tional Airport in Jeddah from July


Talal Qutub, chairman of the

Tawafa Establishment for the Irani-

an Pilgrims, said all arrangements

have been completed to receive the

Iranian pilgrims. He said as many

as 10 field offices manned by well-

trained and highly qualified staff

will serve the pilgrims.

A total of 85,200 Iranians are

expected to perform Haj this year,

which is little less than last year

when 86,000 pilgrims attended the

annual religious event.

Meanwhile, a Haj flight com-

ing from Indonesia as part of the

Makkah Road initiative arrived in

Madinah with the pilgrims having

completed all immigration proce-

dures at their embarkation points

back home.

At least 11 governmental bod-

ies have made concerted efforts to

complete the immigration process

of pilgrims before arrival at their

final destination. The initiative

comes as part of the Saudi govern-

ment’s efforts to expedite the pro-

cedures and shorten the pilgrims’

stay at Saudi airports on their

arrival in line with the Kingdom’s

Vision 2030.

A special terminal was allotted

for the arrivals, with buses waiting

to take the pilgrims directly to their

temporary stay camps. Indonesian

Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Agos

Abe Jibreel praised the move

which, he said, is part of the giant

services the Kingdom has provided

since long for pilgrims to make the

once-tough-trek a pleasant journey.

Saudi Arabia officially

launched the Makkah Road ini-

tiative earlier by commissioning

the first two flights of Malaysian

pilgrims from Kuala Lumpur Inter-

national Airport.

Minister of Haj and Umrah Dr. Muhammad Saleh Bin Taher Benten during the inspection tour of the Unified

Agents Office at the Haj Terminal on Tuesday. — SPA

Habla draws adventure lovers in droves

Over 28,000 graduate from

technical colleges, institutes

Tunnels allow easy access to Prophet’s Mosque

Saudi Gazette report


The Habla resort, located

50 km away from Abha and 40

km from Khamis Mushayt, is one

of the major tourist attractions in

the southwestern part of Saudi

Arabia. Thousands of people from

within the Kingdom and neighbor-

ing GCC countries visit the place

every year to spend their holidays,

enjoying its natural beauty and

salubrious climate.

Habla received its name from

the rope (habl) which in old times

people used to reach the town,

part of which lies in a 400-meter

deep ravine. Nestled on a unique

stone terrain are natural resorts

where visitors can enjoy the

natural sceneries and entertain-

ment programs on offer as well as

the cable car rides to capture the

breathtaking views. Young and old

alike can enjoy the place, which

definitely is one of the natural

wonders of the region.

The resort is named after the

a village of the same name close

by near Wadiyayni town. Ancient

inhabitants of Habla used rope to

get into and out of the village and

transport goods. Now the rope

has been replaced by a cable car

system, which facilitates travel of

tourists to the village.

The Asir region is replete with

several tourist resorts. Abha is an-

other popular holiday destination

during the summer months due its

beautiful scenery, the misty moun-

taintops and the cool breezes.

At an elevation of 2,200 meters

above sea level, the mountainous

region enjoys pleasant weather

year round.

The Saudi Commission for

Tourism and National Heritage

(SCTH) has implemented a large

number of projects in recent

years to meet the requirements of

the growing numbers of tourists

who visit the region. Tourists can

spend their time at Qara, Souda,

Warda, Dalfan, Jarra and Hassab

resorts, wander around the juniper

forests and spot some 170 bird


Abdullah Al-Sanouri, a visitor,

said he was attracted by the rainy

weather in Habla. “Its salubri-

ous climate is a gift from God,”

he told Al-Madina Arabic daily.

Habla mountains are covered by

rich greenery. Many tourists, es-

pecially youth, camp in the valley

erecting tents.

“I have spent three days in

Habla with my friends to enjoy its

beauty and invigorating climate,”

he added.

Ali Al-Khaledi, who came

from Dammam, spoke about

Habla’s cable car service. “My

friends and I enjoyed traveling on

cable cars in Habla. It was a mem-

orable experience,” he added.

It is interesting to know that

people used to live in this isolated

village hundreds of years ago

despite the difficulty to communi-

cate with the outside world. They

used rope as a means of transport.

Abdul Rahman, another

visitor, said traveling on cable

car in Habla was one of the main

purposes of his visit. “We get dif-

ferent feelings while sitting in the

cable car. It’s not only adventur-

ous but also an ideal way to enjoy

the natural beauty. It enables us to

reach the old village situated in a

deep place,” he added.

By Fatima Muhammad

Saudi Gazette


More than 28,000

students have graduated from

various institutes and techni-

cal colleges supervised by the

Technical and Vocational Train-

ing Corporation (TVTC) during

1438-39 academic year. This

includes industrial institutes,

training institutes in prisons,

international colleges and in-

stitutes under strategic partner-


Rashid Al-Zahrani, TVTC’s

deputy governor for training,

said the graduates included

11,275 males and 1,845 females

who obtained bachelor’s degrees

from various technical colleges.

The technical institutes had

2,738 graduates and the strate-

gic partner institutes had 3,018

graduates and 3,932 graduates

from international colleges.

Al-Zahrani said TVTC

offered different vocational

courses and technical training

programs in 41 colleges for men

and 23 colleges for women, 64

secondary industrial institutes,

31 international colleges and 25

institutes under strategic part-

nerships with the private sector.

The TVTC official they

Saudi Gazette report


The four pedestrian

tunnels opened by the Madinah

Development Authority will help

visitors and residents of neighbor-

ing districts to reach the Prophet’s

Mosque easily and comfortably,

said a senior official at the author-

ity while speaking to Okaz/Saudi


“These tunnels will contrib-

ute to facilitating movement of

worshippers and visitors who pass

by King Faisal Road and ensur-

ing their safety and security,” the

official said. The move comes as

part of efforts to develop the close

premises of the Prophet’s Mosque.

The tunnels No. 2 and 3, each

with a length of 125 meters, have

been provided with escalators

for the benefit of the elderly and

people with special needs, the

official pointed out. They are also

provided with 12 elevators in ad-

dition to ordinary stairs.

“These stairs are designed for

the use of people of all age groups

including the elderly,” the official


The tunnels will take people

to the northern part of the central

region of Madinah without cross-

ing any roads that will be filled

with vehicles.

The tunnels are equipped

with fans and air-conditioners,

Indonesian pilgrims who arrived in Madinah under the Makkah Road

initiative move directly to buses waiting outside Prince Muhammad Bin

Abdulaziz International Airport.

Thousands of people from within the Kingdom and neighboring GCC countries visit Habla to enjoy its

natural beauty and salubrious climate.

Dr. Rashid Al-Zahrani

Newly opened pedestrian tunnels will facilitate the movement of visitors to the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.

Ibrahim Al-Ghamdi, a young

man, said: “I came to the Asir re-

gion to enjoy its marvelous natural

sceneries and pleasant climate.

Bachelors visiting Habla can set

up tent camps that give us lots of

fun and an opportunity to show our

creativity and spend our free time

in a positive way.”

Abdullah Al-Ali said it was

his first visit to Habla with family.

“This is a marvelous place located

away from the din and bustle of the

city. People can enjoy the calm and

quiet atmosphere and the marvelous

climate. There are several hotels

and restaurants in the village to ca-

ter to the needs of tourists,” he said.

Transport Ministry completes road maintenance in Makkah, Holy Sites

of 400 km of roads in Makkah

province in preparation for the Haj

season, SPA said on Tuesday.

The ministry said the cost of

periodic and preventive mainte-

nance of roads totaled SR73 mil-

lion. The roads included Taif-Baha,

Taif-Riyadh, Makkah-Taif, Taif-

Hawiyyah and Al-Hada. The main-

tenance works also covered roads

leading to the holy capital and the

Holy Sites.

The ministry has improved

connecting roads to Haramain and

Briman-Hada Al-Shaam roads that

lead to Makkah from Jeddah.

The ministry also improved

the illumination on the roads in the

Holy Sites while road safety means

such as signboards, traffic signals,

lane markings and reflectors, speed

breakers, warning signs at curves

and other dangerous locations have

been upgraded.

The ministry has implemented

warning vibration technology on

the shoulders of several roads in

both directions. Over 1,000 km of

roads have been equipped with this

technology within Makkah prov-

ince to raise the road safety level.

The accomplishment level

reached 100 percent in the majority

of preventive maintenance work in

projects in Makkah and the Holy


Repair works are under way for

bridges on Makkah-Hada Road and

the screening lots in Al-Buhaitah.

The streetlights in the Holy

Sites and pilgrims’ grouping center

on Al-Hijra Road have also been



As many as 3,767 buildings in

Makkah have been issued licenses

to accommodate the Haj pilgrims.

According to official sources,

the buildings will accommodate

1.66 million foreign pilgrims dur-

ing their stay in Makkah.

The housing units are distrib-

uted in five districts in and around

the central area of Makkah topped

by Al-Aziziyah neighborhood,

which has 1,751 buildings to ac-

commodate a total of 850,319


fire-fighting systems, light and

sound systems and security cam-

eras to monitor the smooth flow

of pedestrians. The entrances of

these tunnels have been decorated

with attractive metallic and glass


Speaking about the tunnels’ lo-

cations, the official said Al-Salam

tunnel is located southwest of the

mosque, while the Awali tunnel is

situated on the southeast, adding

that they provide secure passage

for worshippers and visitors of the

Prophet’s Mosque.

The new tunnels projects were

carried out under the supervision

of Madinah Emir Prince Faisal Bin

Salman, who has initiated a num-

ber of development projects in the

holy city.

wanted to serve more students

through new programs and

initiatives. The corporation

works with its strategic partners

in the private sector to design

programs to help equip young

men and women to work in vari-

ous commercial and industrial


The TVTC has also been

working to expedite the process

of generating job opportunities

in line with its new identity and

the objectives of Saudi Arabia’s

Vision 2030.