Saudi Arabia issues more than 4.33 million Umrah visas

Muslim worshippers perform the evening (Isha) prayers at the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Makkah on August 25, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 03 March 2019
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Saudi Arabia issues more than 4.33 million Umrah visas

  • Developing Hajj and Umrah organizations and services in the Kingdom is among the top priorities of the Saudi government

RIYADH: The number of Umrah visas issued this year by Saudi Arabia has reached more than 4.33 million.
According to data provided by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, the total figure for approved visas stands at 4,338,959, of which 3,892,554 pilgrims have arrived in the Kingdom. There are 443,560 pilgrims still in the country, with 304,897 of them in Makkah and 138,663 in Madinah.
Most pilgrims — 3,464,929 — traveled to the Kingdom by air, while 392,632 entered by land and 34,993 arrived by sea.
The largest number of pilgrims are from Pakistan (949,895), followed by Indonesia (633,253), India (408,495), Yemen (206,980), Egypt (204327), Malaysia (200,873), Turkey (183,164), Algeria (138,092), and Bangladesh (99,629).
The weekly data also included 8,441 males and 1,738 females working within Umrah companies and institutions.
Developing Hajj and Umrah organizations and services in the Kingdom is among the top priorities of the Saudi government. Vision 2030 aims to attract more than 30 million Umrah pilgrims and provide them with top-class services.


Saudi capital to get world’s biggest park in $23bn project

Updated 11 min 16 sec ago
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Saudi capital to get world’s biggest park in $23bn project

  • The project will see 7.5m trees planted and the creation of the world's biggest park
  • There will be 70,000 jobs created across the four major projects

RIYADH: The world’s biggest park will be created in Saudi Arabia as part of a $22.9bn project that promises to create vast open green areas in Riyadh, creating thousands of new jobs, state news agency SPA reported on Tuesday

The aim of the project is to “significantly improve the lives of its citizens, transform the city into an attractive destination and make it one of the world’s most livable cities,” the report added.

The four projects - King Salman Park, Sports Boulevard, Green Riyadh and Riyadh Art – will complement the Saudi Vision 2030’s “Quality of Life” Program and are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, to create sustainable cities and communities, while driving urgent action against climate change.

Developed with a government investment of $23 bn, the four projects will offer opportunities worth $15bn for the private sector to invest in residential, commercial, recreational and wellness projects.

As well as creating tens of thousands of new jobs, the project will also help boost efforts to improve the city’s health and wellbeing with a commitment to wellness, health, sports, culture and the arts, underpinned by a commitment to environmental sustainability.

Measuring 13.4 square kilometers, King Salman Park will be the world’s biggest park, with residential areas, hotels, and will also feature a Royal Arts Complex, theaters, museums, cinemas, sports venues, water features, restaurants and an 18-hole Royal Golf Course.

The park will also boast several landmark assets, including the Riyadh Fountains and a Vertical Garden. As an environmentally sustainable urban development, it will offer opportunities for the international community in arts, entertainment and culture.

Image: riyadhgreen.sa

One of the world’s largest urban greening projects, Green Riyadh will increase Riyadh’s green cover with 7.5 million trees.

The massive planting project will help increase the city’s green cover from 1.5 percent of Riyadh’s total area to 9.1 percent – that’s approximately 541 square kilometers, by 2030.

Image: riyadhgreen.sa

Green space availability will increase to 28 square meters per capita from the current 1.7 square meters per capita, compared to the World Health Organization’s recommendation of 9 square meters per capita.

Green Riyadh will help reduce average ambient temperature by 2C, and will use more than 1 million cubic meters of treated sewage daily for irrigation, for the sustainability of water resources in the city.

Image: riyadhgreen.sa

Sports Boulevard  - a health and wellness destination in the heart of the city- will feature a 135 kilometer-long professional cycling track covering the city and the surrounding valleys, the first of its kind in the region.

Adding 3.5 million square meters of new open space across the city, this grand project will also feature a sports pavilion, riding stables and athletics tracks.

Riyadh Art will be the world’s largest government investment in public art and will establish the city as “a gallery without walls” through a world-class interactive public arts program.

With 1,000 artworks curated through 10 separate programs and an annual arts festival, this project will feature large-scale art works with the aim of drawing art lovers and creators from around the world.

The projects are part of Saudi Arbia’s strategy to meet their Vision 2030 goals, they are expected to provide 70,000 new job opportunities.

Construction work is due to start in the second half of 2019.