21 January, 2015
Egypt, Indonesia and Pakistan were ranked as the top countries that received the largest number of Umrah visas during Rabi-ul-Awal 1436 AH—showing a total of 1.63 million visas issued. Aside from the three, other countries included in the list were GCC and Arab countries like Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, Tunisia, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey among others.
In line with this, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has revealed the start of the Umrah Season 1436, which will also signal the start of the implementation of new regulations and guidelines for Umrah pilgrims visiting the Kingdom. The regulations, which have been reviewed, revised and updated in partnership with the government and private sectors, will be applied during this new Umrah season.
Ziyad Bin Mahfouz, President, Elaf Group, said, “The Elaf Group remains fully committed towards its move to provide world class high quality services to pilgrims performing Umrah this season. We will be working closely with government authorities in serving these pilgrims from the time they arrive in Saudi Arabia to the time they complete their pilgrimage and depart the country. As a key player in Saudi’s tourism industry, we pledge to do our part of providing high quality services that meet the needs of these Umrah visitors like transportation and hotel arrangements—widely helping in the advancement of the country’s tourism for religious purposes sector.”
The new guidelines were developed by the Ministry of Hajj and include new standards for travel and tourism based companies that operate inside and outside of the Kingdom. The new standards include provisions in granting visas, offering services and the training and qualification for travel agents and other tourism related positions. The move is part of the government’s continuing move to enhance and upgrade the level of offered services for tourists visiting the Kingdom to perform Umrah and Hajj.