Saudi Arabia issues 2.78 million Umrah visas so far

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Muslims pilgrims circumambulate around the Kaaba, the cubic building at the Grand Mosque, ahead of the annual Haj pilgrimage in in the Muslim holy city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia, Monday Aug 28, 2017. (AP)
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Muslim pilgrims sit and circumambulate around the Kaaba, the cubic building at the Grand Mosque, ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the Muslim holy city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia on August 28, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 13 January 2019
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Saudi Arabia issues 2.78 million Umrah visas so far

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

JEDDAH: The number of Umrah visas issued this year has reached 2,785,790, of which 2,346,429 pilgrims have arrived in the Kingdom, according to data provided by the Hajj and Umrah Ministry.
There are 345,114 pilgrims still in the Kingdom, with 233,910 in Makkah and 111,204 in Madinah.
Most pilgrims — 2,122,424 — came to the Kingdom by air, while 213,121 entered by land and 10,884 arrived by sea.
The largest number of pilgrims are from Pakistan (637,745) followed by Indonesia (420,410), India (292,607), Malaysia (135,895), Yemen (128,618), Egypt (73,179), Turkey (65,970), the UAE (59,855) and Bangladesh (57,701).
The Vision 2030 reform plan aims to attract more than 30 million Umrah pilgrims, and provide them with excellent services and an outstanding experience.
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.


Majlis culture brings a little Saudi warmth to freezing Davos

At a five-star hotel in Davos, the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority has sponsored a prominent display proclaiming ‘The future-forward economy — Invest Saudi.’ (AN photo)
Updated 23 January 2019
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Majlis culture brings a little Saudi warmth to freezing Davos

  • The Misk Pavilion is one of the many signs of the Kingdom’s enthusiastic involvement in the world’s biggest gathering of political, business and thought leaders

DAVOS: From the sub-zero temperatures of the icy Davos Promenade you are ushered through a glass door into the warmth of a desert majlis, with works by young Saudi artists on the walls and traditional Arabian delicacies being served. It is quite a culture shock.

The Davos majlis is the work of the Misk Global Forum (MGF), the international arm of the organization founded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to promote youth empowerment. 

The Misk Pavilion is one of the many signs of the Kingdom’s enthusiastic involvement in the world’s biggest gathering of political, business and thought leaders.

“The Kingdom’s participation in WEF 2019 highlights its role in developing the regional and global economy, and reflects the nation’s continuing ambition for sustainable development,” said Bader Al-Asaker, head of the crown prince’s private office and chairman of the Misk Initiatives Center. 

The Saudi delegation’s HQ overlooks the main congress hall, inside the Davos security cordon. 

At a nearby five-star hotel, the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority has sponsored a prominent display proclaiming: “The future-forward economy — Invest Saudi.” 

This is the second year Misk has been prominent at Davos. As well as the majlis, its pavilion offers visitors the chance to immerse themselves in modern Saudi art via a virtual reality tour of the work of four young artists.

Misk is organizing daily events there, building up to a power breakfast with leading executives on Friday on the theme of youth empowerment.

“In an age of profound economic disruption, we regard young people as the problem-solvers, not a problem to be solved,” said MGF executive manager Shaima Hamidaddin.

“We’re holding interactive discussions on how to empower young people to be the architects of the future economy, not the tenants of it.”