Private sector’s role in improving Hajj, Umrah services highlighted in Jeddah forum

The modern facilities will enable pilgrims to complete their Hajj and Umrah rituals more easily. (SPA/File)
Updated 28 November 2018

Private sector’s role in improving Hajj, Umrah services highlighted in Jeddah forum

  • Makkah Mayor Mohammad Al-Quwahess reveals "to fully embrace technology and convert Makkah to a smart city"

JEDDAH: The role of entrepreneurs and emerging companies in regional economies and in the Hajj and Umrah sector was discussed during the opening day of Saudi Forum for Emerging Companies. 

The event, at the Ritz-Carlton in Jeddah, was organized by the Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority (Monsha’at) under the title “Emerging companies and their role in the regional economy... the model of emerging entrepreneurial companies in the Hajj and Umrah sector.”

Dr. Mohammed Salih Bentin, minister of Hajj and Umrah, said in his opening remarks that he hopes that the modern facilities being developed for pilgrims will enable them to complete their Hajj and Umrah rituals more easily using smart devices, and that the quality of the services on offer will be exemplary. 

He noted that there will be no complacency in ensuring the highest standards of hygiene or in other related areas.

“The enrichment of the Hajj and Umrah experience with historic and entertainment sites is an important goal that we seek to achieve through the unique efforts of entrepreneurs,” he added. “We are waiting for them and welcome all their ideas and suggestions.”

Saleh Al-Rasheed, governor of Monsha’at, said that the role of the authority is to create “a suitable environment for entrepreneurship. We work with (entrepreneurs) hand in hand and hope that the emerging projects have distinctive ideas in the service of pilgrims.”

Ultimately, he added, the market will be the judge of the success of these ideas and projects, and Monsha’at supports and protects entrepreneurs throughout the process.

Makkah Mayor Mohammad Al-Quwahess said that the aim is to fully embrace technology and convert Makkah to a smart city, and that it is important to think outside the box when planning and hosting the pilgrimage season.

Amer Al-Qahtani, deputy director for research and innovation at Elm Information Security, stressed the importance of creating a nurturing environment in which to address the ideas and challenges relating to the Hajj and Umrah sector, with the aim of building and developing technical solutions. 

Ahmed Al-Thenayan, deputy minister for technology industry and digital capacities, announced that a campaign will soon be launched, in cooperation with Monsha’at, to support and develop the Hajj sector.

Nawaf Al-Sahaf, CEO of Badir Program, an organization that helps to support and develop technology-based business ideas, said that non-Saudis should be given a chance to participate in the Hajj and Umrah programs because they offer a different perspective.

Saudi minister hails ‘special relationship’ with Japan

Updated 22 October 2019

Saudi minister hails ‘special relationship’ with Japan

  • “We share common values,” said Majid Al-Qasabi

TOKYO: Saudi Arabia has a “special relationship” with Japan, which is “reliable strategic partner and friend” of the Kingdom, the Saudi Minister for Commerce and Investment Majid Al-Qasabi said on Monday.

The minister was speaking at the launch in Tokyo of the Japanese-language online edition of Arab News, in the latest stage of its global expansion. The event came on the eve of Tuesday’s ceremonial enthronement of Emperor Naruhito in the Japanese capital. “This is a great opportunity, a moment in history,” Al-Qasabi said.

The news website, published in Japanese and English, will focus on enabling the exchange of information between Japan and the Arab world in business, current affairs, and arts and culture. “It will be good to have news in Japanese so many Japanese can read about the Arab world,” Japan’s Defense Minister Taro Kono said at the launch.

Common values

“We share common values, we have a high respect for the elders and we think that the family is very important … to me we are friends and I think we need to work together.

“In order to do that we need to know what people in the Middle East are actually thinking, what is happening on a daily basis, and we haven’t got the source for that — but now Arab News is in Japan.

“This is a very good means to exchange information between the Middle East and Japan, so I am very much looking forward to it.”