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MENAFN - Arab News - 02/01/2014

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(MENAFN - Arab News) The Kingdom has issued 516,000 Umrah visas so far and 217,564 pilgrims have already entered the Kingdom to perform Umrah, announced the Haj Ministry.


Speaking with Arab News, Haj Ministry spokesperson Ali Al-Ghamdi said that the ministry is using the electronic services to facilitate better services for the incoming Umrah pilgrims and to process their visas.


He said that initially there were very few requests to use the services but now the figure has risen dramatically. He said that 45,000 pilgrims from different countries had left the Kingdom after performing Umrah. "The ministry is constantly monitoring the Umrah packages that service operators are offering to pilgrims through the electronic system," he said.
Al-Ghamdi said that the ministry is also crosschecking the accommodation and service contracts prior to the pilgrims' arrival to the Kingdom.


He said that the ministry is intending to reach Muslims across the globe through its web portal which is offering information in seven languages including Urdu to reach the vast number of South Asian pilgrims.


The Web portal provides detailed information on the package, and guides pilgrims on how to complete their rituals. He said that the pilgrims' information is integrated with the National Information Center of the Ministry of Interior which is the prime body of data collection.


Al-Ghamdi also informed that the Haj Ministry is working closely with other ministries on the development of the public transport system in Makkah and Madinah to facilitate the movement of pilgrims in the holy cities as per the directives of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.


The official said that the ministry is constantly following up with the expansion and the upgrading of projects such as the Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Airport at Madinah and the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah.


The ministry is also coordinating to have state-of-the-art facilities including equipment to service the pilgrims at the two airports.

 






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