Saudi Arabia is preparing to lift its Umrah ban – The government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will gradually lift the suspension or temporary ban on Umrah and visits to holy places. The holy places have been closed since March due to the new corona virus (Covid-19) pandemic.

“The temporary suspension of Umrah and visits to the two holy mosques will be gradually lifted,” said Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Haj and Umrah, Mohammed Saleh Benten.

“Performing Umrah in stages and visits to holy sites will depend on technical solutions that enable Umrah service providers to further improve their services and promote themselves locally and globally,” he continued while speaking at a second virtual forum aimed at enriching. the experiences of the Umrah pilgrims, as quoted from Gulf News, Tuesday (9/22/2020).

The minister gave an example, there will be more than 30 local and international companies that can handle the provision of congregational services via electronic channels that allow Umrah service providers to follow up as needed when serving pilgrims. (Also read: 2020 Hajj ends, 10,000 pilgrims are quarantined for 14 days in Saudi Arabia)

He noted that merging Umrah companies would make them stronger and more capable of providing high-quality services to around 16 million domestic and foreign Umrah pilgrims each year.

New smart cards will be issued to these companies during their transition period and this card will be used for the first time to serve visitors to the Prophet’s Mosque from within the Kingdom and abroad. “We aim to serve 30 million worshipers annually by 2030,” he said.

Deputy Minister of Haj and Umrah, Abdul Fattah Mashat, said mergers and acquisitions in the umrah sector would significantly reduce operating costs and contribute to increased operational efficiency and diversification of services due to increased assets and financial capabilities.

“The Haj and Umrah system is not limited to the basic services provided to pilgrims, because there is a complete package and a variety of services that can be provided by the private sector, such as support and logistics services, which will have a major role in achieving the goals of Vision 2030,” he added.