Nothing is better news for a Muslim to be able to go to Saudi Arabia and visit the holy mosques. The wait for it over, finally. Saudi Arabia is lifting the suspension of Umrah services. This is true.
Saudi Arabia is also resuming visits to the holy sites. The resumption of services will take place in a phased manner after nine months of closure due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Umrah services in phases
Mohammed Saleh Benten, Minister of Haj and Umrah, said, “The temporary suspension of Umrah pilgrimage and visits to the two holy mosques will be lifted in a phased manner.”
“The gradual resumption of Umrah and visits to the holy sites will rely on technical solutions that enable companies providing Umrah services to further improve their services as well as to promote themselves locally and globally,” he said while addressing a virtual forum.
More than 30 local and international companies can handle providing services for pilgrims. An electronic pathway will enable Umrah service providers to do the necessary follow-up while serving pilgrims.
The Saudi minister noted the merger of Umrah companies will make them stronger. They can provide high-quality services for some 16 million domestic and foreign Umrah pilgrims annually.
Meanwhile, during their transitional period these companies will get a smart card. This card will be used first to serve visitors to the Prophet’s Mosque from within the Kingdom and abroad.
“We aspire to serve 30 million pilgrims annually by the year 2030,” he added.
Abdul Fattah Mashat, Deputy Minister of Haj and Umrah, said mergers and acquisitions in the Umrah sector will significantly reduce operational costs.
In February this year, Saudi Arabia had placed a temporary ban on Umrah pilgrims for preventing the spread of the coronavirus. The move from the Saudi government follows the confirmation of two coronavirus cases in Pakistan. The measure came at a time when there had been an increase in the number of cases in the Middle East.
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