All ready to welcome Umrah pilgrims


Saudi Gazette report

JEDDAH — Following the successful completion of Haj, Umrah pilgrims have started arriving in the Kingdom, the Ministry of Haj and Umrah announced on Thursday.

The current Haj season will come to an end on Oct. 5 (Muharram 15) when the last flight carrying foreign Haj pilgrims will leave King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah.

The ministry has issued directives to all its agencies, sectors and Umrah establishments to raise their level of readiness to provide the best services to Umrah pilgrims and visitors.

The ministry announced its preparations for the upcoming Umrah season during a recent meeting between Minister of Haj Muhammad Saleh Banten and key players in the Umrah sector.

The meeting focused on the readiness of all sectors of the ministry for this season, especially with an unprecedented rise in the number of Umrah pilgrims last season, which was put at 6.7 million.

Despite the large number of Umrah pilgrims, there was a considerable drop in the number of Umrah visa overstayers, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, the number of Haj pilgrims who arrived in Madinah totaled 595,635, according to an update issued by the National Establishment for Guides in Madinah on Thursday.

It said 32,336 pilgrims arrived in Madinah on Wednesday while 21,691 left the holy city on the same day for their countries.

With this the number of foreign pilgrims who left Madinah after visiting the Prophet's Mosque after Haj totaled 333,137 as of Wednesday. The number of pilgrims who remained in Madinah until Wednesday evening, the last day of the month of Dul Hijjah, exceeded 262,422, compared to 157,176 pilgrims on the same day last season.

Director General of Saudi Arabian Airlines Saleh Bin Nasser Al-Jasser made an inspection tour of Prince Muhammad Bin Abdulaziz Airport in Madinah on Thursday to check on the smooth departure of pilgrim flights from the airport.