JEDDAH: The third Hajj and Umrah Services Conference and Exhibition opened its doors on Monday at Jeddah Dome under the theme “A Passage to Nusuk,” aiming to enhance readiness, face challenges and exchange experiences.
The four-day expo, organized by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah in cooperation with the Pilgrim Experience Program, brings together more than 200 exhibitors, leading thinkers, innovators, researchers and entrepreneurs to deepen insights, address challenges and anticipate the future of services for Hajj and Umrah.
More than 81 speakers from the public and private sectors, both inside and outside the Kingdom, as well as high-level delegations, including senior figures, Islamic affairs ministers, heads of Hajj missions and higher commissions from more than 70 states, are participating.
Collaborating with key industry partners, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has commited this year to realizing superior service standards and sustainable practices for pilgrims, aligning with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 objectives.
Minister of Hajj and Umrah Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said that the conference would provide ample opportunities for the business sector to enhance pilgrims’ experiences.
He emphasized the Saudi government’s dedication to improving visitor and pilgrim services globally by introducing innovative technologies and services aimed at facilitating rituals and elevating service quality.
Al-Rabiah will participate in a ministerial dialogue session alongside senior officials to highlight the Kingdom’s efforts in enhancing services for participants in the Pilgrim Experience Program.
More than 60 agreements for Hajj services will be signed with all Islamic countries, covering the numbers of pilgrims, the plan for the ports of entry, and health and procedural requirements.
In addition to 30 workshops, 13 debate sessions, 10 main sessions and a variety of additional events and activities will take place throughout the event.
Mohammed Farouq, communication manager of the Iraqi High Authority for Hajj and Umrah, told Arab News: “First of all, we really thank the Saudi government for giving us the opportunity to be a part of this huge expo to showcase our services.”
He said that this year’s Iraqi delegation had increased to 1,350 people: “This is probably the largest delegation in this expo.”
Mohammed Naser bin Jaffar, from Lembaga Tabung Hajji, named last year as the recipient of the Saudi Arabian Labaittom Award for the best service category for a Hajj affairs office, said: “Here we are again participating in the Hajj and Umrah expo, which is considered the biggest gathering of Hajj and Umrah services. We are glad to be here to offer our newly updated services.”
Last year, Lembaga Tabung Hajji also received the Saudi Arabian Labbaitom Award for the best Hajj guide service and program in the Islamic World.
The Hajj forum strives to establish a sustainable ecosystem, enriching the experiences of pilgrims and Umrah performers through expert ideas and visions. It envisions future directions, fosters opportunities for partnerships, agreements and initiatives — both locally and globally — to enhance their experiences. Additionally, it involves entrepreneurs and innovators in elevating the standard of services during Hajj.
On the first day, the signing of cooperation agreements between various participants was witnessed. Ikram Al-Daif Tourism Co., one of the tawafa companies for pilgrims from Arab countries, signed a partnership agreement with the Heritage Authority to enrich the religious and cultural experience of the guests and enhance the image of Saudi Arabia as a diverse cultural destination.
Meanwhile, the Royal Commission for Makkah City and Holy Sites is showcasing its achievements at the conference. The commission is presenting various tracks of its major projects and initiatives, with the most prominent track being development and growth. This showcases the commission’s vision for Makkah and its future projects.
The historical track highlights the development stage of the Jabal Al-Rahmah in Arafat and future developments. Additionally, the digital transformation track showcases the latest technologies used in developing services for Makkah visitors.
The transportation track highlights the projects that aim to transform mobility in Makkah. This includes Makkah Buses, which has surpassed 114 million users.