Jakarta (Indonesia Window) – The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced on Monday (Nov 11) that 1,050,665 visas for Umrah (minor hajj) has been issued during the current Umrah season starting from August, to November 9, 2019 (Rabi Al-Awwal 12, 1441 Hijr).
The total number of pilgrims arriving in Saudi Arabia reached 838,464, while currently 298,002 pilgrims have been in the country, the Saudi Gazette reported as quoted by Indonesia Window here on Wednesday..
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said 806,251 pilgrims arrived via airports, and 32,210 others entered through the land ports, and only three people came through the sea ports.
Data also show that 540,462 pilgrims left Saudi Arabia after performing Umrah or the nonmandatory lesser pilgrimage (Hajj), which may be performed at any time of the year.
During the last Umrah season which began in late October 2018, more than seven million foreign pilgrims performed the lesser Hajj.
The largest number of Umrah pilgrims came from Pakistan, followed by Indonesia and India.
The ministry has recently made amendments to the regulations for providing Umrah services-companies, which allow the extension of the Umrah programs and the purchase of service packages through a central reservation portal called “Maqam.”
The Maqam portal is an online platform where Muslims from all over the world can apply for Umrah packages.
The facility also compares the competitive prices of service providers, checks flights and bookings status, and makes electronic visa applications without the need to travel to diplomatic missions or embassies.
With this system, pilgrims and visitors as well as service providers, hotels and transport companies can make contracts directly through the global travel platform.
The portal also allows the issuance of electronic visas without the need for paperwork and that is in coordination with the Ministry of Haj and Umrah, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Information Center.
Reporting by Indonesia Window