Umrah pilgrims from outside Saudi Arabia can apply to Makkah hotels without using travel agents

Three million worshippers and pilgrims have visited Grand Mosque in Makkah since start of Ramadan

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah on Tuesday authorised hotels to book Umrah pilgrims directly, without any third-party involvement during Ramadan.

The move comes in support of the tourism sector that has suffered financial losses during the pandemic.

Muslims across the world wishing to perform Umrah during the holy month can now book directly with hotels without the need to go through travel agents.

The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques has allowed the entry and exit of nearly three million pilgrims at the Grand Mosque since the start of Ramadan.

All pilgrims who wish to pray or perform Umrah at the Grand Mosque in Makkah are required to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.

Rayan Filali, chairman of the hotel committee at the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that preparation to receive more pilgrims was under way in Makkah.

About 1,800 hotels and more than 25,0000 housing units are being prepared in accordance with accommodation protocols.

The ministry is working with the Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence using “Eatmarna” and “Tawakkalna” apps to ensure pilgrims meet regulatory requirements and health protocols, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah, Dr Abdel Fattah Mash-shat, said the decision would assist the hospitality sector, with hotels in Makkah largely dependent on Hajj and Umrah seasons.

“They have drastically been affected by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic following the enforcement of strict precautionary measures and preventive protocols taken by the government to preserve the health of visitors,” Dr Mash-shat said.

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