GITEX visitors in Dubai try world’s first Hajj and Umrah VR simulator 

The technology offers a 360-degree view of the most sacred places in Islam. (AN Photo)
Updated 10 October 2019

GITEX visitors in Dubai try world’s first Hajj and Umrah VR simulator 

  • The technology offers a 360-degree view of Makkah and Madinah
  • Software is designed to help first-time pilgrims familiarize themselves with how Hajj works

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah is showcasing its new virtual reality simulator at the Dubai World Trade Center, allowing visitors to experience the technology.

Designed to help would-be pilgrims, the technology developed in Pakistan offers a 360-degree view of the most sacred places in Islam, as well as a guide to the rites and rituals performed during Hajj or Umrah.

“We want to update the way we teach pilgrims how to perform Hajj and Umrah,” Sheriar Ashraf, CEO of Karachi-based Labbaik VR, told Arab News at GITEX Technology Week.

He said the software would help individuals, especially first-time pilgrims, to familiarize themselves with what goes on during the pilgrimage.

“Hajjis will be able to perform the rituals in a hassle-free manner after being trained in a virtual environment that closely resembles the actual sacred sites in Makkah and Madinah,” he said.

The software currently runs on PC virtual reality headsets such as Oculus Rift, with plans in place to launch a mobile app soon.


Saudi rail chief visits Haramain stations

Updated 14 November 2019

Saudi rail chief visits Haramain stations

  • Visit is part of project management’s plans for the Haramain station in Al-Sulaimaniyah and Jeddah airport
  • Railway inaugurated by King Salman on Sep. 24, 2018

JEDDAH: Saudi Transport Minister and Director-General of the Saudi Railway Organization (SAR), Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, visited the Haramain High-Speed Railway’s Al-Sulaimaniyah station and the King Abdul Aziz International Airport station in Jeddah on Thursday to check on preparations to resume operations at the two sites.

Al-Jasser was accompanied by Public Transport Authority Chairman Rumaih bin Mohammed Al-Rumaih, SAR CEO Bashar Al-Malik and other officials.

The visit is part of project management’s plans for the Haramain station in Al-Sulaimaniyah and Jeddah airport to serve airline passengers and Jeddah residents.

The service was halted on Sept. 29, 2019 after a fire broke out at the station in Jeddah, which left 11 people injured. The blaze, which was centered in the roof of the station, lasted for 15 hours.

As the first high-speed electric train in the region, the Haramain High-Speed Railway spans over 450km, connecting five stations across Makkah, Jeddah, King Abdul Aziz International Airport, King Abdullah Economic City and Madinah.

The railway was inaugurated by King Salman on Sep. 24, 2018. 

The project is in line with the objectives of the Vision 2030 reform plans, the main goal of which is to increase the number of pilgrims and visitors to the holy places. Officials described it as the biggest transportation project of its kind in the region.