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Makkah Route Initiative makes Hajj trip smoother

BD leads the way among beneficiaries

FE Report | May 30, 2024 00:00:00

The Makkah Route Initiative, which is carrying out all travel procedures at the airports of the countries of departure, continues to simplify the Hajj journey for pilgrims.

Currently, seven countries benefit from the initiative by the Saudi Ministry of Interior. They are: Bangladesh, Ivory Coast, Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, Pakistan and Türkiye. There are 11 dedicated lounges at airports across these countries.

Last year, a total of 242,272 pilgrims benefited from the initiative, with Bangladeshi pilgrims making up 108,739 of that number. Launched in 2017 as part of Saudi Vision 2030, the initiative was temporarily suspended during the 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic but has since resumed operations.

Facilitating a smooth arrival for pilgrims in the Kingdom, the initiative involves close collaboration between the ministry and various partner agencies.

A dedicated team welcomes travelers upon arrival, and special buses ensure safe and comfortable transportation throughout their journey in Makkah and Madinah. Other services include biometric data collection, electronic Hajj visa issuance, and luggage coding and sorting.

The initiative streamlines pre-departure procedures by collecting biometric data and completing necessary steps in the pilgrim's home country. This means pre-arrival immigration is completed before departure, instead of on-arrival immigration in Saudi Arabia. Electronic Hajj visas are also issued in the pilgrim's home country. Health requirements are verified before pilgrims enter Saudi Arabia, and luggage is coded and sorted according to transportation and accommodation arrangements.

Upon arrival, pilgrims are whisked away on dedicated buses to their residences in Makkah and Madinah, carrying only their hand luggage. Checked luggage is transported separately and delivered to their residences within a few hours.

[Source: Arab News]

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