Hajj Ministry’s new goal: Opening up pilgrims to Saudi historical, touristic attractions

Bentin was speaking at a workshop organized by the ministry in cooperation with the emirate of Makkah. (SPA)
Updated 31 October 2018

Hajj Ministry’s new goal: Opening up pilgrims to Saudi historical, touristic attractions

  • The ministry has shifted its works to the unified electronic path and is following up feedback of the service providers and recipients

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Mohammad Saleh Bentin urged Umrah companies to improve the quality of their services and announced the launch of new high-standard investment opportunities for companies operating in the sector.

“The real and sustainable gain is the dedication to serving pilgrims,” he said.

Bentin highlighted the professional environment that provides the best services to pilgrims to enrich their experience from arrival to departure after having completed their rituals. He was speaking at the first workshop organized by the ministry to present and discuss the Umrah sector strategy under Vision 2030.

Bentin said that the program for serving pilgrims aims to facilitate arrival procedures for Hajj and Umrah visitors. He stressed that giving the opportunity to a larger number of companies improves competitiveness in services and allows for a wide range of excellent options.

The minister said all sectors of the country are keen to invest their potential, services and workforce in serving pilgrims. “Serving Hajj and Umrah is a national responsibility shared by all,” he said.

Bentin said that the sectors are endeavoring to serve pilgrims and enrich their Hajj and Umrah experience by introducing them to the many historical places and Islamic monuments and by creating a suitable environment.

He also underscored the importance of providing information, using technology and preparing quality initiatives that reflect the attention and care accorded by the Saudi leadership to pilgrims and visitors.

He said the ministry aims to issue Umrah visas throughout the year and without stopping during the Hajj season.

The ministry’s undersecretary, Abdul Aziz Wazzan, presented the Umrah-specific goals, the current Umrah figures and statistics, and the challenges of the sector. Then he presented the main areas in which the strategy and executive plans will operate to improve the quality of Umrah services to suit the growing number of pilgrims and reach efficient procedures through electronic platforms.

Saudi public prosecution announces results of investigation into Khashoggi killing

Updated 13 min 30 sec ago

Saudi public prosecution announces results of investigation into Khashoggi killing

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor is seeking the death penalty for five out of 11 suspects charged in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi was killed in the country’s Istanbul consulate on Oct. 2 after a struggle by a lethal injection and his body was dismembered and taken out of the building, Shalaan Al-Shalaan, deputy public prosecutor and spokesman, told reporters in Riyadh on Thursday.

Khashoggi’s body parts were then handed over to a local Turkish agent outside the consulate grounds, the spokesman said, adding that a sketch of the agent has been prepared and will be handed over to the Turkish authorities.

He said that the head of Khashoggi’s repatriation team was the one who ordered the killing of the victim, adding that the investigations into the whereabouts of the victim’s body are still ongoing.

Jamal Khashoggi was killed in Turkey’s Istanbul consulate on October 2. (Reuters)

He noted that the mission of the team was to persuade Khashoggi to return to the kingdom.

The prosecutor said a former adviser had been due to meet the team that was ordered to repatriate journalist Khashoggi, who was killed after efforts to negotiate his return failed.

He added that the ex-advisor had been banned from travelling and remained under investigation, and that the case has been transferred to court while investigations continue.

Al-Shalaan said Saudi Arabia has requested Turkey to sign a cooperation deal on a probe into the murder of Khashoggi.

“We have requested the brotherly Turkish authorities to sign a special cooperation mechanism specific to this case in order to provide them with the results of the investigation,” he said, adding that “the public prosecutor is still awaiting a response to these requests.”