Saudi ministerial bodies discuss investment opportunities for Hajj and Umrah

More than 19 million pilgrims performed Umrah in 2017. (SPA)
Updated 31 May 2018
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Saudi ministerial bodies discuss investment opportunities for Hajj and Umrah

  • Hajj Minister Mohammed Salih Bentin said that the Saudi leadership is very ambitious in achieving Vision 2030
  • Hajj Minister stated the importance of focusing on Umrah outside the acknowledged seasons

MAKKAH: Ministerial bodies discussed investment in the Hajj and Umrah sector at a Chamber of Commerce and Industry meeting recently.
It was among the initiatives of a plan for the private sector to diversify investment in the Umrah sector and bring in investors to cater for the increasing number of pilgrims.
Minister of Hajj and Umrah Mohammed Salih Bentin said that the Saudi leadership is very ambitious in achieving Saudi Vision 2030, notably the Hajj and Umrah dossier in which 32 ministerial bodies are participating. They plan to stimulate and facilitate the arrival of a large number of visitors and serve them in an environment that uses modern technical services to attract investors.
Bentin pointed to the need for more facilitation of services, from getting a visa to gateways and internal procedures in Makkah.
He stressed that the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah is enforcing self-service for every pilgrim, and has authorized 280 new companies. He regretted that 240 of those transferred to Egypt, despite the decrease in the number of pilgrims there to less than 300,000 due to the economic situation and conditions enforced by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism, where Umrah companies performed their work in an disorganized way despite Bentin’s belief that these companies had solvency and marketing strategies originally.
Bentin added that they must target age groups other than the elders for Umrah, emphasizing that some services outside four and five-star hotels are weak, needing development, investment and work on increasing the number of pilgrims in airports and actively coordinating the unification of responsibilities and technology use through applications specialized in Hajj and Umrah. That will open the doors of investment in a more successful way.
Bentin stated the importance of focusing on Umrah outside the acknowledged seasons, targeting pilgrims who go on vacations around the world to market Umrah and the poor choices of tourism expenditure. He added they must let go of the cheap items’ culture and present services that attract pilgrims, with the Makkan character and sales that do not use modern and credit cards.
Tourist trips in Makkah, Ghar Hira, Jabal Thawr, Mount Arafat and the birthplace of Prophet Muhammad must be targeted, away from companies and crazes. The use of guidance, educational and cultural methods must be adopted. He said that Saudi Arabia serves pilgrims of all sects in a civilized manner that reflects the importance of the Kingdom in the world.
Bentin said that the spending rate of a pilgrim during Umrah in Saudi Arabia was SR600 ($160), and is even higher during Hajj. He indicated that the labor nationalization sector is weak, and deals with most pilgrims being non-Saudis in the subsistence, transport and hotels sectors.


Jeddah Season provides seasonal employment for young Saudis

Updated 18 June 2019
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Jeddah Season provides seasonal employment for young Saudis

JEDDAH: The Jeddah Season festival has provided a wide range of seasonal employment opportunities for young Saudi men and women, helping them gain experience and prepare them to enter the job market.

More than 5,000 young Saudis are working around the clock, each in his or her field, to manage the festival’s activities.

The festival aims to highlight development opportunities in Saudi Arabia, introduce the Kingdom as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, support the government’s efforts to empower Saudi youths, support local small and medium enterprises, develop Jeddah’s tourism sector and provide volunteer opportunities.

Jeddah Season, which began on June 8 and runs until July 18, has attracted thousands of visitors of all ages through its 150 local and international events and activities.

It is being held at five sites: King Abdullah Sports City, Al-Hamra Corniche, the Jeddah Waterfront, Obhur and Historic Jeddah (Al-Balad), which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Jeddah Season offers a wide range of tourism, entertainment and cultural events and activities, and sheds light on the city’s status as the Kingdom’s tourism capital. Most of its events are being held for the first time in Saudi Arabia.

Jeddah Season is in line with the Vision 2030 reform plan, which aims to advance the welfare of Saudi society, diversify local development opportunities, improve the Kingdom’s contribution to arts and culture, and create job opportunities for Saudi youths.