Vision 2030: Haj services among KSA’s top priorities

Vision 2030 also calls for strategic development of the holy sites’. (AN photo by Khder Zahrani)
Updated 28 August 2016
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Vision 2030: Haj services among KSA’s top priorities

JEDDAH: Developing Haj and Umrah organizations and services in the Kingdom is among the top priorities of the Saudi government and an extension of the country’s historic role in serving Muslims and Islam.

Vision 2030 includes a strategic and comprehensive plan to develop the sector so as to allow the largest number of Muslims possible to perform Haj and Umrah.
The media center of the Ministry and Haj and Umrah confirmed in a report on Friday, according to SPA, that the plan stems from the Kingdom’s recurring success and management of the largest Umrah season, allowing nearly 6.5 million pilgrims from around the world to perform their religious duties.
The Kingdom also carried out the largest expansion of the Grand Mosque in Islamic history so as to gradually increase the capacity annually. The plan, as per the Vision, includes building the capacity to 30 million pilgrims and Umrah visitors in the coming years.
Vision 2030 also calls for strategic development of the holy sites’ facilities and services, as well as development of a train network for the holy sites, housing projects and tents for pilgrims, completion of the expansion project, establishment of large airports to receive more guests, and providing active security management to protect pilgrims in view of terrorism challenges and threats.
The report also points to expanding health and medical services for pilgrims by preparing hospitals and health centers to provide top-of-the-line services around the clock, in addition to sewage, cleanliness, and lighting services at the holy sites and the Jamarat Bridge.
According to Minister of Haj and Umrah Mohammed Bentin, the administration is witnessing a dramatic transformation in the areas of better planning and enhanced coordination between concerned agencies.
There is also a shift away from seasonal work to a year-long work system and culture, in order to enhance services and meet Vision 2030 objectives.
During the Council of Ministers’ session on Monday, 11-11-1437 AH, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salam welcomed guests of the two holy cities and directed all concerned agencies to exert all efforts to facilitate the Haj for pilgrims.
To that effect, the Ministry of Haj and Umrah launched a series of initiatives and services to welcome pilgrims to the Kingdom, alongside services for pilgrims in Makkah and Madinah, to ensure they perform the Haj smoothly and remain safe.
Eighteen Saudi transpiration companies have secured 18,000 fully equipped buses to transport 1.4 million pilgrims from outside the Kingdom successfully during the Haj season this year, the report revealed. Fleets of buses are updated annually to ensure the safety of pilgrims as they move between cities, and this year, 1,696 buses are new or were provided only last year. To operate and transport pilgrims, 24,000 young Saudi bus drivers and technicians have been hired to operate these buses.
The Ministry of Haj and Umrah also updated its electronic Haj portal to speed up electronic issuance of visas and reduce procedural waiting and entrance times to a mere few minutes.
The report also revealed that the ministry, for the first time this year, applied the electronic bracelet system for pilgrims, in order to speed up identification processes and electronically read all related information, especially for those who do not speak Arabic.
The system allows the ministry to read personal identification information stored on the bracelet to guide those who are lost, shorten procedure times, and allow for transparency of information.
All Haj affairs offices around the world have been instructed to provide information on pilgrims before their arrival at ports, and information about visas, passports, a photo, service providers, and other personal information are stored on the bracelets.


Thousands of participants register in the upcoming Quran and Athan competitions

Updated 24 June 2019
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Thousands of participants register in the upcoming Quran and Athan competitions

  • Total prizes for the competition are worth $3.2m
  • The final stage of the competition will end on October 25

DUBAI: More than 13,000 participants from 162 countries registered in the Quran Recitation and Adhan competitions, the Saudi General Entertainment Authority (GEA) said in a statement.
The GEA allocated $3.2 million in prizes for the largest Quran competition and the first Adhan competition, which aims to highlight the diversity of the Islamic world cultures through the different styles of recitation and Adhan, and improve the image of Islam and Muslims globally.
The competition hopes to encourage the Muslim youth to recite the Quran and experience performing the Adhan.
The registration opened on May 22 and will continue accepting applications until July 22. The applicants will be then shortlisted from July 22 until August 23 as the competition progresses in its second stage.
The on-stage live performances will begin on August 24 and last until September 24 and winners will be announced and awarded throughout the final stage, which will run from September 25 and conclude on October 25.