Muslim tourists to benefit from new Irhal mobile app

Updated 17 March 2015

Muslim tourists to benefit from new Irhal mobile app

Irhal, an Arabic/English mobile app, has been launched for Muslim travelers. The app not only guides users to tourist attractions and shopping places in 90 cities around the world but also lists the nearest halal restaurant and mosque.
Prayer timings and a compass showing the direction of Makkah are also included in the app, which can be downloaded free from the Apple or Android store by searching for the word, Irhal.
“One of my biggest worries as a tourist has always been locating halal restaurants. On Fridays, I also worry about finding a mosque for Juma prayers,” said Irfan Ahmad, CEO and founder of Irhal.com travel website and mobile app based in Dubai. “We launched the Irhal.com website several years ago and in 2014, we received over one million unique visitors. But our users wanted to have the information on their smart phones so we developed the Irhal app.”
According to a recent Thomson Reuters study, Islamic tourism is a $137 billion market and tourists from the GCC spend $40 billion every year. With more than 70 percent mobile penetration and a lack of Arabic mobile content, Irhal aims to become the must-have resource for all Muslim travelers.
“Hotels and tourism organizations from Switzerland, Ireland and even Korea are contacting us to list their Muslim friendly offerings,” added Irfan who has been invited to speak at a halal conference being organized in Cordoba, Spain, in March 2015, to promote the city among Muslim travelers.
The Irhal app recently won the Best Islamic Economy Startup prize given by Dubai Silicon Oasis.


Russia’s cultural capital beckons GCC travelers

Updated 17 October 2019

Russia’s cultural capital beckons GCC travelers

  • Citizens of Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia can now benefit from fast and convenient 
eVisa portal when arranging their next visit to the city of St. Petersburg.
Guarded by two marble lions at the entrance, the Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St. Petersburg sits within the walls of a 19th-century royal palace in the beautifully preserved imperial city of St. Petersburg. Celebrated globally for its history and architecture, Russia’s cultural capital recently became an even more attractive destination for GCC travelers thanks to the introduction of a convenient new online eVisa process.
Launched at the beginning of October, the St. Petersburg eVisa portal enables citizens from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman to enjoy the benefits of fast and simple online visa applications. Travelers can simply fill in the online form, upload a photograph, and can complete the entire process in just a few clicks. Applications can be made within 20 days of traveling, and up to four days before arrival. The visa is valid for stays of up to eight days in St. Petersburg and the surrounding Leningrad Region.
Felix Murillo, general manager of Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St. Petersburg, said: “The introduction of the eVisa portal offers a new level of convenience for international travelers, making it easier than ever for GCC citizens to arrange a trip to our wonderful city. Our concierge team takes great pleasure in highlighting St. Petersburg’s historical and cultural visitor attractions, and will be happy to arrange anything our guests may require to turn every trip into an unforgettable experience. We look forward to welcoming visitors from the Middle East to our beautiful hotel to share cherished moments and create memories that will last a lifetime.”
The Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St. Petersburg is located in the upmarket Admiralteysky district and was originally constructed in the early 19th century for Prince Alexander Yakovlevich Lobanov-Rostovsky.
Since first opening its doors to guests in 2013, the property offers 183 rooms, including 26 sumptuously decorated suites.
Perhaps the most stunning of the hotel’s accommodations is the one-of-a-kind Lobanov Presidential Suite, where guests can gather by the living room fireplace for a night of intimate conversation, host an al fresco dinner party on the expansive private terrace with stunning views of the Admiralty building and the surrounding park, or retreat to the grand master bedroom for a quiet and cosy evening.
The hotel is inviting guests to embark on a range of culinary adventures across its three restaurants. Diners can experience pan-asian fusion flavors at Sintoho, authentic Italian dishes at Percorso and modern Russian cuisine at The Tea Lounge.
Catering to the needs of visitors from the Middle East, halal meat is available on request.