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.


Saudi border guards rescue French passenger from Red Sea cruise ship

Updated 19 April 2019
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Saudi border guards rescue French passenger from Red Sea cruise ship

JEDDAH: Saudi border guards rescued a French female tourist on Friday after she broke her leg on board a cruise ship in the Red Sea.
The 85-year-old was aboard the Costa Luminosa off the coast of south-west Saudi Arabia when the Maritime Rescue Coordination Center in Jeddah received an emergency call from the King Abdulaziz International Airport’s search and rescue center, saying the women needed emergency medical attention.The details of the message was passed to the Saudi Arabia Border Guards.
The border guard’s vessel Al-Lith was sent to meet the cruise ship near Al-Qahma, in the Kingdom’s south-western Asir region.
Lt Col. Misfer Bin Ghanam Al-Qarni, border guards spokesman, said the patient was transferred to Jazan, where she was then taken to Prince Mohammed Bin Nasser Hospital by ambulance.
The Costa Luminosa, which was traveling from Salalah in Oman toward Aqaba in Jordan, continued on its voyage.