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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - JEDDAH: The third Hajj and Umrah Services Conference and Exhibition taking place in Jeddah features a range of panel discussions, the foremost being the pivotal role of “Diplomatic Collaboration in Hajj and Umrah Operations.”
The panel discussion underscored the integrated efforts of diplomatic representatives both within and outside Saudi Arabia, shedding light on the coordination and communication required to provide essential support and assistance for pilgrims.
Moderated by Dr. Alhassan Yehia Almanakhra, undersecretary for international cooperation at the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, the panel brought together distinguished speakers, including Osama Nugali, Saudi ambassador to Egypt; Fahad Abualnasr, Saudi ambassador to Turkiye; Dya-Eddine Said Bamakhrama, Djibouti ambassador to Saudi Arabia; and Essa Al-Duhailan, Saudi ambassador to Bangladesh.
The discussion explored the multifaceted role of diplomatic representations in coordinating with various sectors to facilitate rituals for pilgrims.
Nugali commended the integration of modern technology in the visa issuance process, aligning with Saudi Vision 2030 goals, and eliminating the need for pilgrims to visit embassies or consulates.
“Within the requirements related to Hajj, every visa is issued for a specific purpose, whether it is for Hajj or Umrah, according to the regulations and instructions. This is well-known to diplomatic representations, especially in Egypt, where I serve as an ambassador. This indicates that integrated efforts among all parties contribute to eliminating what is known as backwardness, which is considered a challenge,” he said.
The discussion emphasized coordination mechanisms with Saudi authorities, covering consular, administrative, financial, health, and humanitarian services provided to pilgrims.
Collaborative efforts focused on enhancing communication between embassies and consulates to streamline procedures, handle emergencies, and address any complaints related to pilgrims.
Nugali stressed the importance of information exchange between embassies and the Saudi government to ensure a seamless pilgrimage experience, emphasizing the elimination of challenges through integrated efforts.
Abualnasr highlighted the successful coordination with Turkish authorities, offering training courses for pilgrims.
“In the Saudi Embassy in Turkiye, we are keen on providing Turkish pilgrims with all the necessary information, and regulations in the Kingdom. The success is evident as the Turkish Hajj mission achieved first place in the Excellence Award for Hajj missions presented by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah. This serves as motivation for working entities to offer the best services to the guests of the Almighty.”
The session emphasized the ambassadors’ crucial role in identifying and addressing gaps and challenges, contributing to the success of pilgrimage missions.
Bamakhrama said: “All Hajj missions fall under the representatives of those countries, and every service provided to pilgrims is considered important for all Arab and Islamic countries. Challenges can be identified, addressed, and overcome through cooperation.”
Bamakhrama emphasized the complementary nature of the relationship between diplomatic missions and the Hajj and Umrah system.
Al-Duhailan referred to the integrated efforts between diplomatic missions abroad and the Hajj and Umrah system, particularly focusing on the importance of awareness in countries such as Bangladesh.
He highlighted the importance of awareness, especially in countries like Bangladesh, where the population exceeds 170 million, with more than 90 percent being Muslims aspiring to visit the holy sites.
“The collaboration with the Saudi Embassy in Bangladesh focuses on providing educational programs and enlightenment.”
The four-day conference organized by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, brings together exhibitors, innovators, researchers, and entrepreneurs.
With over 81 speakers from various sectors and high-level delegations from more than 70 states, the event aims to address challenges, enhance readiness, and exchange experiences to shape the future of Hajj and Umrah services.
The event, held under the patronage of King Salman, was inaugurated by Prince Saud bin Mishaal bin Abdulaziz, deputy governor of Makkah, on Monday.
Held under the theme “A Passage to Nusuk,” the event brings together more than 200 exhibitors, leading thinkers, innovators, researchers and entrepreneurs to offer insights, address challenges, and anticipate the future of services for Hajj and Umrah.
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