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1.25m Umrah pilgrims a month from next year

Haj Minister Bandar Al-Hajjar called for deeper coordination among all agencies to provide excellent services to Haj and Umrah pilgrims

Published: Updated:

A new Umrah system and its executive bylaws will be issued soon with a view to increase the number of Umrah pilgrims every year, Haj Minister Bandar Al-Hajjar has said.

He told Okaz/Saudi Gazette that starting next year, as many as 1.25 million pilgrims are expected to arrive every month compared to the present number of 400,000.

Hajjar said the new system is aimed at increasing the number of pilgrims so as to fully utilize the gigantic projects implemented by the government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.

The minister said he would soon meet Umrah company owners to discuss plans for the Umrah season of 1437H which will begin in mid-November.

He called for deeper coordination among all agencies to provide excellent services to Haj and Umrah pilgrims.

Hajjar said the ministry will continue to use its e-portal under which procedures to issue visa will not take more than a few minutes.

“We are going online as an ambitious plan to double the number of Umrah pilgrims during the next five years,” the minister said.

According to the ministry’s figures, five million Umrah visas were issued in 2013 and six million each during 2014 and 2015. It is expecting 10 million visas to be issued in 2016 and 60 million by 2018.

Meanwhile, about 600,000 Haj pilgrims had left the Kingdom for their home countries until Sunday onboard 2,282 flights which took off from King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) in Jeddah.

Turki Al-Dheeb, director of the airport’s department of information and public relations, expected about 900,000 pilgrims to depart from the airport until late October.

Many other pilgrims will depart from Prince Muhammad Bin Abdul Aziz International Airport in Madinah. This is in addition to those leaving by sea and land. About 1.4 million pilgrims had come from abroad for this year’s Haj.

The article was first published in the Saudi Gazette