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Saudi and India Collaborate on Umrah Experience

umrah - image courtesy of rahimgmz from Pixabay
umrah - image courtesy of rahimgmz from Pixabay
Written by Linda Hohnholz

Enabling the private industry to improve the Umrah journey for Indian tourists.

The inaugural roadshow of the Integrated Government Platform Nusuk came to a close in the Republic of India. The event was led by Dr Tawfig AlRabiah, the Minister of Hajj and Umrah, and saw significant involvement from important stakeholders in the Umrah sector, including representatives from Umrah partners and travel agents.

The roadshow was centered around actively involving officials in tackling different obstacles and advocating for greater collaboration with prominent travel and Umrah companies in India and Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, the roadshow aimed to discover favorable trade prospects and provide incentives to the private sector for delivering a smooth Umrah journey for pilgrims, aligning with the goals of Saudi Vision 2030.

The roadshow exhibition showcased a diverse range of booths from Saudi service providers, including companies specializing in accommodation, transportation, and tours. With the participation of over 1000 representatives from the private sectors of India and Saudi Arabia, the event aimed to introduce Indian partners to the extensive services offered by Nusuk. These services encompass providing valuable information and insights, simplifying the visa application process, and arranging accommodations and flights. The comprehensive approach adopted was designed to facilitate increased visits to iconic destinations in Saudi Arabia such as Makkah, Madinah, and others, thereby enhancing the overall travel experience to the Kingdom.

Moreover, the exhibitors warmly invited attendees to immerse themselves in Saudi’s ancient heritage and truly Arabian culture, while encouraging trade investment in the thriving tourism sector. These invitations align with Nusuk’s strategic goal of promoting visitors to discover the marvels of Saudi beyond their Umrah experience.

Managing Director of Nusuk and CEO of the Saudi Tourism Authority Fahd Hamidaddin, stated:

“India is one of the most important markets in the world, and holds a significant presence of nearly 200 million Muslims. India is also a long-term partner of Saudi and is expected to become Saudi’s largest tourism source market, with over 7.5 million Indian visitors expected to visit our country by 2030. We remain committed to enabling trade to easily package and promote Saudi products to visitors, which will help us increase the distribution of Saudi’s diversified travel offerings. We look forward to deepening ties with key Indian trade partners to ensure we are creating bespoke experiences that tailor the entire Umrah journey for Indian visitors.”

Hamidaddin highlighted the success of the Nusuk Roadshow, adding:

“The Nusuk India Roadshow was a resounding success. Through Nusuk – our integrated digital platform – we are delighted to provide the ever-growing Indian market with a unique Umrah experience that will cater to a wide variety of travel needs and preferences. Our streamlined platform continues to positively impact Saudi’s tourism sector and is opening the doors of opportunity for key trade partners in India and around the world.”

Nusuk President of APAC Markets Alhasan Aldabbagh shared:

“With Nusuk, we aim to significantly enhance ease and accessibility for Indian travelers, especially the growing number of Umrah visitors. This platform simplifies their journey to Saudi, beginning with an expedited visitor visa process – now streamlined to allow issuance in under 24 hours, and we have further extended the Umrah visa duration to 90 days. Additionally, e-visa services are available to holders of UK, US, and Schengen visas. Moreover, Indian travelers can benefit from the 96-hour Stopover visa, which allows Umrah to be included in their itinerary. We’re also continuing to foster our collaborations with our local partners to offer the Umrah+ packages, encouraging pilgrims to explore the rich culture and experiences available in Saudi beyond Makkah and Madinah.”

India ranked third in terms of visit numbers this year, with 1.8 million visits. Saudi Arabia, under visionary leadership, has made significant efforts to simplify the travel process for Indian visitors to the Kingdom. This includes streamlining visa applications, arranging hotel accommodations, booking flights, and facilitating Umrah, irrespective of the type of visa. The Nusuk platform (nusuk.sa) serves as the central hub for all these services.