SAUDI 1 pho-1716803107809
Al Thaqafi described her participation in the initiative as a mix of joy, pride, and compassion. Image Credit: Videograb

Dubai: Lance Corporal Asrar Al Thaqafi has made history as the first Saudi female photographer to join the media team of the Ministry of Interior’s “Mecca Road” initiative. Asrar’s role took her to Solo, Indonesia, where she contributed to the team by exchanging experiences in the media field, a Saudi TV report said.

During her mission, Asrar expressed her profound emotions and pride in capturing the joyous expressions of pilgrims as they prepared for their spiritual journey.

“The initiative gave me the opportunity to convey the feelings of pilgrims from their countries, capturing the smiles of joy painted on the faces of the guests of Mercy,” she stated.

Get exclusive content with Gulf News WhatsApp channel

She described her participation as a mix of joy, pride, and compassion, emphasizing how fortunate she felt to be part of such a significant endeavour.

This year, the time-saving facilities under Mecca Road initiative are offered at 11 airports in Morocco, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey and Cote d’Ivoire.

In 2018, the Saudi Interior Ministry relaunched the “Mecca Route” that kicked off on a trial basis in 2017.

The initiative aims at offering high-quality transport services to pilgrims of those countries en their route to Saudi Arabia. The facilities include issuance of electronic visas at home, finalising passport procedures as well as tagging and sorting out luggage at the departure airports.

On arrival in Saudi Arabia, those pilgrims head directly to their residences in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina while their luggage are delivered right to their residences.

The Saudi Interior Ministry is implementing the initiative in cooperation with the kingdom’s ministries of foreign affairs, health, Hajj and Media as well as the Saudi General Authority for Civil Aviation, the Zakat, Tax and Customs, the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority and the government-run Guests of God Service Programme.