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.
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.