‘Cutting prices helped raise Umrah pilgrim numbers’

In this Jan. 13, 2016 photo, Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba, the cubic building at the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia during the minor pilgrimage, known as Umrah. (AP)
Updated 19 May 2016

‘Cutting prices helped raise Umrah pilgrim numbers’

JEDDAH: A drop in prices of up to 40 percent for Umrah packages has resulted in more pilgrims arriving this year compared to the same period last year, according to a report in a local publication on Wednesday.
Abdullah Al-Qadi, vice president of the national committee for Haj and Umrah, was quoted as saying that there was an increase in 250,000 pilgrims or 5 percent, to 5.5 million for the period under review.
Al-Qadi said an expected 1 million more pilgrims are expected for Ramadan this year, which would further boost the numbers. “When the Umrah season started we noticed a drop in the numbers, especially during the first four months,” Al-Qadi told the publication.
He said that meetings were held with the Ministry of Haj and Umrah to discuss the reasons for this drop, which included global economic conditions and holidays in other countries not coinciding with the start of the season.
He said prices were reduced by 30 to 40 percent, unlike other seasons when there was only a drop of about 10 percent. This resulted in a rise in numbers within two months.
This season would also be better because of the removal of the temporary bridge on the mataf, the circumambulation area around the Kaaba. This would allow pilgrims to perform Umrah easier.

Pilgrims with special needs treated to a memorable Umrah trip under Saudi ministry’s Ramadan initiative

Updated 26 May 2019

Pilgrims with special needs treated to a memorable Umrah trip under Saudi ministry’s Ramadan initiative

  • Umrah trip held as part of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah's “Sadiq Almutamir (Friend of the Pilgrim)” initiative 

JEDDAH: Several Muslims with special needs have benefited from a special Umrah pilgrimage organized by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan.

According to statement from the ministry, the Umrah trip, was held on the 17th of Ramadan  (May 22) under the “Sadiq Almutamir (Friend of the Pilgrim)” initiative in partnership with Sawt Alasm association in Jeddah.

A busload of 20 people with special needs were accompanied by 12 volunteers of Sadiq Almutamir, including sign language interpreters for the deaf pilgrims. 

The first stop was at Kuday area in Makkah, where pilgrims received the special gifts of Sadiq Almutamir, supported by the Establishment of Motawifs of South East Asian Pilgrims. Next was their arrival at the Grand Mosque, wherein the pilgrims performed Umrah, enjoyed Iftar meals, and received souvenirs from Haji & Mu'tamer's Gift Association. 

Volunteers assisted the pilgrims by communicating with them, providing instructions and directions in addition to sharing their feelings with the support of the sign language interpreters. 

Sadiq Almutamir also accompanied pilgrims during the performance of Umrah, providing wheelchairs for the elderly, sharing breakfast, and learning about their impressions of performing Umrah for their first time. 

Sadiq Almutamir is one of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah’s initiatives in Makkah’s Cultural Forum. It focuses on promoting the culture of giving and cooperation between the Saudi youth as well as elevating the volunteering services provided to Umrah pilgrims in order to enrich their experiences. It also provides optional tours to visit attractions, monuments, and places contribute to enriching experiences of Mutamirs and immortalizing beautiful memories in the Kingdom.

Launched late last year, the initiative aims to develop the spirit of volunteerism among Muslims and to invest in the youth by engaging young men and women in service and social responsibility.

“It focuses as well on improving the efficiency level of services provided to pilgrims, promoting the culture of volunteering, helping elderly and special needs’ people to perform Umrah rituals, and finally contributing to the realization of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 of reaching 1 million volunteers annually,” ministry statement said.

The trip was held in cooperation with the Western Fleet Transport, in coordination with the undersecretary of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah for pilgrims’ transportation affairs and Haji & Mu'tamer's Gift Association.