MAKKAH — An Umrah visa fee of SR500 for pilgrims who will stay in the Kingdom for a maximum of five days is under consideration, Haj and Umrah Minister Mohammed Saleh Bantan was quoted as saying in a section of the Arabic press on Monday.
“This is one of many other options the ministry is considering,” Al-Madina daily quoted him as saying.
From October, a revised visa fee structure has been implemented in the Kingdom.
The first entry of Haj and Umrah pilgrims will be free, but for subsequent entries they will be charged SR2,000.
The minister said the new Haj and Umrah fees will not constitute any financial burden on Muslims as the Saudi government will bear the fees for first-time pilgrims.
Bantan called for consolidating the concept of hospitality for the guests of Allah through creative projects.
He said the hospitality industry requires getting rid of the brokers. “This should be replaced by the old system of hospitality when the guests of God were served free of charge for the sake of Allah,” he said.
Bantan was talking at the closing ceremony of the month-long Hara Makkawiya festival which concluded on Sunday.
Head of Al-Nuzha neighborhood Sheikh Adel Amin Hafiz said the festival showcased the historical and cultural heritage of the holy city. More than 470 antiquities were shown during the festival in which about 180 productive families participated.
Ten cultural seminars were held during the festival which hosted 20 government and private departments and received about 34 delegations. “More than 200,000 people visited the festival which was a window through which the modern generations could look at the achievements of their ancestors,” said Hafiz.