Umrah visas can now be converted to tourist visas

Programme aims to provide pilgrims with opportunity to see landmarks, historical Islamic sites of the country


APP April 26, 2016
PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: A new initiative launched by President of Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) Prince Sultan Bin Salman now enables Umrah pilgrims to convert their visas into tourist visas.

This is a key channel of "The Kingdom is Muslims' Destination" initiative, which was proposed by the commission several years ago, Saudi Gazette reported Monday.

More than 0.25m Hajj applications received so far: PITB

Following the launch ceremony of the initiative in Riyadh, Prince Sultan said the programme aims to provide pilgrims with an opportunity to see the landmarks, historical Islamic sites, shopping centres and attractive tourist spots of the country.

Following the completion of Umrah, pilgrims under the initiative may opt to make cultural, medical, educational and marketing tours, whereby attending exhibitions and conferences.

Further, business visa holders and GCC citizens would also be able to avail the opportunity to join the post-Umrah programme.

Hajj 2016: Govt intends to use trackers for pilgrims

Just last year, Saudi Arabia planned to triple the number of visas it issues for Umrah, less than three weeks after the deadly Hajj stampede.

According to statistics, as many as 1.25 million pilgrims are expected to arrive each month this year, which compares with 400,000 a month in 2015.

COMMENTS (6)

Mir S Hasnain | 4 years ago | Reply A good step by Saudi Government.This would provide an opportunity to people visiting for umra to see and explore other historical places.A great place to visit and explore where I had the opportunity to serve .
Architect Ilyas Khan | 4 years ago | Reply My wife and I visited Saudi Arabia for Umra in february last year, after a gap of 11 years. We were pleasantly surprised by the courtesy and assistance extended to us by Saudi officials, especially in Harmain Sharif and Medina. Even the religious police was helpful, bringing up chairs for us to sit for prayers, and fetching us water from the containers! The atmosphere is much relaxed, and it should be appreciated.
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