Transport sector is ‘backbone’ in improving pilgrims’ services

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Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Mohammed Salih Bentin and his deputy Dr. Abdul Fattah Mashat witness the signing of agreements. (SPA)
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The Umrah Forum and Exhibition aims to meet the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan by providing the best services to pilgrims. (SPA)
Updated 29 August 2019

Transport sector is ‘backbone’ in improving pilgrims’ services

  • The Al-Rajhi Umrah Service Group also signed two agreements at the forum with the Saudi Arabia Public Transport Co. and another with Flynas

JEDDAH: Attendees at the second day of the Umrah Forum and Exhibition, launched under the patronage of Makkah Gov. Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, discussed the Doyof Al-Rahman program (DARP) and its role in improving pilgrims’ services. Other sessions covered investing in transport, the role of the smart platform and improving the quality of services and their monitoring mechanisms.
The executive vice president of DARP, Musaab Hashem, stressed the importance of enriching the pilgrims’ experience through allowing them to learn about the Kingdom’s historical sites.
Hashem added that DARP is coordinating with government bodies to provide the appropriate environment for operating cultural sites.
DARP CEO Ahmed Al-Harbi said the program had taken into account all initiatives related to the pilgrims’ journey.
The second session, titled “Invest in Transport,” addressed the importance of developing the transport sector to cope with the pressures of Hajj.
Bassam Ghulman, deputy minister for transportation affairs at the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, said that the transport sector is the backbone supporting all other services provided to pilgrims.
Osama Samkari, general director assistant for transport at the General Syndicate of Cars, discussed the importance of transforming the sector into a high-quality industry.
Ahmed Khalil Qari, director of the field supervision department at the General Syndicate of Cars, said that good planning contributes to enriching pilgrims’ experience.
The third session, presided by Dr. Majed Abdullah, focused on DARP’s smart platform.
Dr. Amr Al-Maddah, the chief planning and strategy officer at the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, said that enabling more pilgrims to perform Hajj and Umrah is one of DARP’s priorities. He added that technology is the best means for enriching their experience and developing services.
Hisham Al-Hammami, chief information officer in the information technology department of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, said that the technology transformation at the ministry has contributed significantly to the provision of packages of outstanding services to companies operating in the Hajj and Umrah system.


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

Basim Zafar, head of the Vision Consultant Office, said that the smart card has helped health care centers access pilgrims’ health information and provide the right medical services.
He added that the smart platform plays an important role in eliminating the infiltration of illegal pilgrims.
During the fourth session, the ministry’s undersecretary for Umrah affairs, Dr. Abdul Aziz Wazzan said: “We will not tolerate companies that provide unsatisfactory services to pilgrims.”
Mohammed Al-Akkad, assistant undersecretary for pilgrims’ affairs, said that the electronic path system shows pilgrims their route from the moment they arrive in the Kingdom until they depart.
On the second day of the forum, several workshops were held with specialized companies in the pilgrimage sector.
Meanwhile, the minister of Hajj and Umrah, Dr. Mohammed Salih Bentin, attended the signing of strategic agreements and partnerships.
Dr. Abdul Fattah Mashat, deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah, and Dr. Adnan Al-Humaidan, director of the University of Jeddah, signed a partnership agreement for volunteer training.
The university also signed agreements with the Sejel Technology, the Saudi Arabia Public Transport Co. and Unified Elzimazemh.
Bentin also sponsored an agreement between the faculty of tourism at King Abdul Aziz University and Jabal Omar Development Co. and another between the university and Flynas, Saudi Arabia’s first budget airline.
The Al-Rajhi Umrah Service Group also signed two agreements at the forum with the Saudi Arabia Public Transport Co. and another with Flynas.

Houthi attack on Saudi Aramco facilities act of terror: Japanese defense minister

Updated 14 min 10 sec ago

Houthi attack on Saudi Aramco facilities act of terror: Japanese defense minister

TOKYO: Taro Kono, the defense minister of Japan, said that threats to his country’s oil supply was the “most worrying scenario” he could imagine in international relations, in the wake of attacks on Saudi Arabian oil production facilities. 

“The most pessimistic scenario right now is that something happens in the Straits of Hormuz and the oil supply gets cut down, and that would send a shock wave through the global economy. I think the price of oil is already rising after this attack on Saudi facilities, so that’s the most worrying scenario right now,” he told a conference in Tokyo, Japan.

However, speaking on the sidelines to Arab News, he insisted that Saudi Arabia would remain a reliable partner of Japan - which imports around 40 per cent of its crude from the Kingdom - and downplayed concerns about long-term supply problems.

“Saudi has been and will be an important source of our energy supply. We have international co-ordination, and we have reserves, so we are not really worried about that,” he said. 

Kono, who was until recently Japan’s foreign minister, said that his country would be seeking to promote diplomatic solutions to the latest Middle East conflagration. "We definitely need to ease the tension between those countries. As Foreign Minister, the last thing I was doing was calling the Iranian Foreign Minister and the French Foreign Minister to ease the tension the region through diplomatic actions, and I think it's important to continue doing it.

“This Houthi attack on Saudi is a little different, because it's a terrorist attack. I think we may require some kind of military operation against those drone attacks, and that's something out of Japan's constitutional boundary. I think Japan will be focusing on diplomatic efforts in easing tension in the region.”

He raised concerns about the apparent lack of sophistication in the recent attacks. “If it is really drones, that is a lot cheaper than any form of conventional missile,” he said.