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Global - September 13, 2019

Saudi Arabia set to issue 10 million Umrah visas this season

 

By 2030, the kingdom expects to issue 30 million Umrah visas

 

 

Saudi Arabia plans to issue as many as 10 million visas this Umrah season, according to a senior official from the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.

In an interview with Arab News, Dr. Amr Al-Maddah, the ministry’s chief planning and strategy officer, said that the visas will be issued electronically without the need to visit an embassy or consulate for a stamp.

According to Al-Maddah, by 2030 the kingdom expects to issue Umrah visas for 30 million pilgrims.

“The target number of pilgrims in [2021] will be 15 million,” he said. “The ministry is well prepared for these cumulative numbers, and pilgrims now have several e-booking platforms that continue to increase and are no longer limited to external agents.”

Al-Maddah added that the central reservation platform serves as a “reservation engine” that connects all service providers, including transport, housing and cultural trips associated with platforms such as Agoda and Musafir.

 

“This way, the ministry ensures that all services are available to pilgrims inside and outside the kingdom through the internet and reliable websites, which pilgrims are accustomed to using when making their bookings,” he said.

 

To facilitate the Umrah trips, pilgrims will be provided with a reference number when they buy a package from the online platforms, which in turn will then allow them to obtain an e-visa.

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