As part of its ambitious initiative to boost tourism, Saudi Arabia has set a target of attracting 150 million annual visits by 2030. In the year 2023 alone, the country has already issued over 18.6 million visas, significantly reducing the processing time for digital visas to just 60 seconds.
To cater to the specific needs of Indian pilgrims, Saudi Arabia is implementing a dedicated system aimed at providing enhanced flexibility, especially for women embarking on solo Umrah journeys. Under the latest measures, the visa duration for Umrah has been extended to 90 days, and a four-day transit visa has been introduced to accommodate the increasing number of Indian pilgrims, as reported by the Saudi Gazette.
The Saudi Minister emphasized the commitment to promoting gender equality and creating a safer and more inclusive environment. These changes collectively strive to ensure a more enriching and secure pilgrimage experience for all travelers, he conveyed to the news agency PTI.
Anticipating a surge in the number of Indian Umrah pilgrims, Mr. Al-Rabiah expressed optimism about the impact of these initiatives on enhancing the overall pilgrimage experience in the near future.”These initiatives are crafted to establish a seamless and welcoming environment for all individuals undertaking a spiritual pilgrimage to the Two Holy Mosques and delving into the abundant historical and cultural heritage of Islamic sites, as well as the diverse tourist attractions within the Kingdom,” he affirmed.
Additionally, the minister disclosed that Saudi Arabia has allocated an estimated quota of 175,025 slots for Indian pilgrims during the Hajj season in 2024.