More than 2.5m Umrah visas issued so far

Muslim worshippers perform the evening prayers at the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mkkah, in this photo taken on August 25, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 06 January 2019
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More than 2.5m Umrah visas issued so far

  • The Vision 2030 reform plan aims to attract more than 30 million Umrah pilgrims, and provide them with excellent services

JEDDAH: The number of Umrah visas issued this year has reached 2,555,201, of which 2,183,031 pilgrims have arrived in the Kingdom, according to data provided by the Hajj and Umrah Ministry.
There are 408,611 pilgrims still in the Kingdom, with 286,568 in Makkah and 122,043 in Madinah.
Most pilgrims — 1,991,448 — came to the Kingdom by air, while 184,580 entered by land and 7,003 arrived by sea.
The largest number of pilgrims are from Pakistan (600,015) followed by Indonesia (394,027), India (281,589), Malaysia (130,793), Yemen (113,247), Egypt (63,217), Turkey (60,086), the UAE (56,412) and Bangladesh (52,848).
The Vision 2030 reform plan aims to attract more than 30 million Umrah pilgrims, and provide them with excellent services.
Last year, the ministry launched a weekly indicator whereby authorities can track the number of pilgrims coming into the Kingdom, and in turn enrich their experiences by providing high-quality services.


FaceOf: Turki Al-Askar, adviser to the Saudi Ministry of Commerce and Investment

Updated 23 February 2019
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FaceOf: Turki Al-Askar, adviser to the Saudi Ministry of Commerce and Investment

Turki Al-Askar has been an adviser to the Saudi Ministry of Commerce and Investment since January 2018.

Previously, he worked for more than six years in the Riyadh office of Merieux NutriSciences, which offers analytical and consulting services to ensure the safety and quality of food, nutrition, agrochemicals, pharma and cosmetics products. 

Al-Askar worked at the company as a planning manager, an acting business development manager, vice president of client services, and vice president of business development. 

He was also a senior market intelligence specialist at Yum! Brands in the UK between July 2010 and February 2011. 

There, he contributed to successful market research by conducting customer surveys, and participated in creating new client profiles in the company database.

He served as a business development specialist and government relations officer at Al-Askar Co. for Property Development between April 2006 and February 2008. 

Al-Askar holds a master’s degree in marketing management from the University of Southampton in the UK. 

He also graduated from the Executive Education Leadership Development Program at the IMD Business School in Lausanne, Switzerland. 

Recently, the Eastern Province Chamber hosted an investment workshop at its headquarters in Dammam to highlight improvements to existing procedures and the new initiatives that are helping to cut bureaucracy and make it easier to do business in the Kingdom.

The chamber's Tayseer committee partnered with 40 government bodies and launched 300 initiatives that aim to improve the Kingdom’s ranking in international indicators.