Cairo: Saudi Arabia has launched a new platform to boost services provided by the private sector for pilgrims.
The Nusuk Business platform was launched by Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah Tawfiq Al Rabiah on the sidelines of a digital government forum in Riyadh on Wednesday.
The portal seeks to ensure enhanced services for pilgrims during their journeys in Saudi Arabia and supports entrepreneurs, small-scale establishments and developers offering these services as well as forging a strategic partnership between the public and private sectors in the field.
Moreover, the Nusuk Business aims to open the door for private sector investments, boost digital transformation to facilitate pilgrims’ access to all related services and products within a trusted network of service providers accredited by the ministry.
In recent months, Saudi Arabia, Islam’s birthplace, has unveiled a host of facilities for Muslims wishing to come to the country to do Umrah or lesser pilgrimage.
Visa holders are allowed to enter the kingdom via all land, air and sea outlets.
In yet a new facilitating step, Saudi Arabia has said its citizens can apply to invite their friends abroad to visit the kingdom and undertake Umrah. Women pilgrims are no longer required to be escorted by male guardians.
The kingdom has also said that expatriates residing in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries are eligible to apply for a tourist visa, regardless of their profession, and be able to perform Umrah.
Saudi Arabia expects around 10 million Muslims from abroad during the current Umrah season.
The season began more than six months ago after the end of the annual Hajj pilgrimage season that around 1.8 million Muslims attended for the first time in three years after the pandemic-related restrictions were lifted.