Umrah app will increase competition, enrich pilgrim experience, says Saudi official

Umrah app will increase competition, enrich pilgrim experience, says Saudi official

RIYADH (RAHNUMA) The Kingdom’s new Umrah app will create a competitive business environment that will improve pilgrim services and enrich the pilgrim experience, according to a senior ministry official.

I’tamarna is aimed at enforcing health standards amid the COVID-19 pandemic and making it easier for people to book their journeys. It also offers booking services that pilgrims can use ahead of their arrival in Makkah for accommodation, transport and recreation.

Dr. Amr Al-Maddah, chief planning and strategy officer at the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, said that the app’s launch should push companies to provide people with a broader and better range of services.

“When we provide high quality services at competitive prices, the pilgrim will find himself drawn to these companies, especially when companies work hard to provide the best services at a competitive price to local pilgrims,” Al-Maddah told Arab News.

He added that external agents who used to control everything related to Umrah will no longer do so as they were just agents and did not own facilities. Their job was to represent and market Umrah companies abroad.

According to Al-Maddah, new measures had fixed this problem and organized the relation between Umrah companies and their external agents to be strictly marketing-based.

“The newly adopted measures will free Umrah companies and motivate them, especially at a time when bookings are being performed through several electronic platforms. This allows foreign pilgrims to directly deal with Umrah companies through the phone, the app and additional means other than the external agents. This will liberate the Umrah companies and improve their performance, allowing them to market their services inside and outside the Kingdom.”

Saudi Arabia said earlier this week that it would start allowing pilgrims to perform Umrah in phased return, while taking the necessary precautions. The decision was made after assessing the developments of the pandemic and in response to the desire of Muslims around the world to perform the ritual.

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