Umrah season ‘a success’ says Saudi ministry
the number of visa overstayers had dramatically decreased to a rate of 0.01 percent of total Umrah visitors thanks to an electronic system.
The Ministry of Hajj has called the just-concluded Umrah season an operational success that attracted over six million pilgrims, Saudi Press Agency reported.
Only 9,360 Umrah performers are still in the Kingdom and they will leave over the next few days, a ministry statement said.
It said the number of visa overstayers had dramatically decreased to a rate of 0.01 percent of total Umrah visitors thanks to an electronic system that monitors the arrival and departure and movement of pilgrims in Makkah and Madinah.
Ministry Assistant Undersecretary for Umrah Affairs Abdullah Marghalani said the government department mobilized and utilized electronic technology to make this season a great success.
Marghalani said: “We used the program for the first time this season.
“It monitors the movement of pilgrims from the moment they depart their home country to the moment they arrive in the Kingdom.
“It sends messages to all officers in Makkah and Madinah in charge of receiving Umrah performers and notifies them of the visitors’ arrival to the Kingdom’s ports.”
This year airports and seaports did not witness any overcrowding inside their arrival and departure lounges, he said.
The ministry has already held several meetings and discussed the shortcomings of this season in order to eliminate them in time for the next Umrah season, which begins in November 2014.
There are 48 Umrah service providers in the Kingdom with 2,000 agents around the world.
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014.
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