LONDON: The number of British Muslims performing Umrah continues to increase as the Kingdom expands the variety of religious experiences on offer, the CEO of the Saudi Tourism Authority said on Sunday.
Speaking at an event that brought together British travel agents and global industry experts in London, Fahd Hamidaddin said that apart from visiting the two holy mosques, Umrah pilgrims from the UK are keen to retrace the life of Prophet Muhammad and his companions by visiting historic sites and museums.
Hamidaddin added that UK businesses will now be able to sell their customers tickets to visit these museums, streamlining the planning process for pilgrims ahead of their journey and enhancing their experience once they arrive in the Kingdom.
“So today, we have many museums that are available and can be ticketed and sold by you to your travelers. We are committed to offering a lot more every year as we open and create systems and tickets for every site,” he said.
These include the Hira Cultural District, Dar Al-Madinah Museum, Prophet’s Mosque Expansion Project Museum, and the soon-to-reopen Clock Tower Museum in Makkah.
Umrah pilgrims are also interested in exploring the “Arab culture and nature around Makkah and Madinah,” he added.
The CEO said that the UK is the largest source market for pilgrims from Western Europe and that improved accessibility to the Kingdom has increased Umrah visits.
“Today, we have 44 weekly flights offering a capacity of more than 681 passengers. So, I thank our airlines … for making this growth possible. Accessibility is a cornerstone to our offering and our growth together,” he said.
CEO of Umrah+ Connect Rashid Mogradia told Arab News that the event was very successful in “connecting more partners with buyers and sellers in both the UK and Saudi Arabia.”
He added: “It is heartwarming to see that the number of British Umrah pilgrims is increasing year on year and we hope that the event will be a catalyst for even more growth for companies on either side.”