Benten: Pilgrims to enjoy comprehensive insurance

May 29, 2018
Layan Damanhouri

Saudi Gazette

— Haj and Umrah pilgrims will be offered a comprehensive insurance during their visits to the Kingdom by next year, Minister of Haj and Umrah Muhammad Saleh Benten has announced.

“Pilgrims visiting the Kingdom to complete their religious rituals will be taken care of by the government in all aspects, such as baggage loss, medical insurance, travel insurance and any kind of incident afflicting the visitor,” he said. “It will be a comprehensive system of medical and travel insurance”.

This is one part of the ministry’s plans toward enhancing the pilgrimage experience to international standards under Vision 2030, he said.

Speaking at a motivational talk event titled “I’m Possible” earlier this week here, the minister said, “We need game changers during this period of transformation in our country. Saudi youth need to think about what their role is going to be in making a positive impact toward achieving Vision 2030.”

He added: “In less than a decade from now, we need to think about the ultimate experience a pilgrim can have and how technology will play a role in creating that experience. This involves transportation options, accommodation, ease of performing rituals at the best services and standards.”

The ministry will require volunteers to be fully dedicated and provide their qualifications in various specialties. Last year, the number of volunteers during Haj reached around 7,000.

Speaking about opportunities for youth during the event, several speakers shared experiences and insights to the audience.

Former Saudi ambassador to Japan Dr. Abdulaziz Turkistani was inspired as a child to see a translator accompanying King Faisal during the former leader’s meeting with the Japanese emperor. He recounts that later on in life, he focused on education and learned the Japanese language, eventually moving on to become the first Saudi to pursue his higher education studies in Japan. Later in life, he become ambassador and translator for late King Abdullah.

“To do the impossible starts with being confident in yourself and believing you can do it,” he said.

While reading is an essential habit in life, writing is one of the most important practices he learned from the Japanese culture. “We need young people to read more outside their field of study,” he said.

Saudi entrepreneur Loay Nasseem who invented the fashionable “thobe” for men, recounts a venture that seemed impossible in the early days. While thobes were traditionally one form and one color, changing a culture was challenging and was met with critique.

Many people need to look for their hidden talents and excel in hobbies, not just in school, he said.

Dr. Zuheir Bakhsh says leaving a secure government job to co-found a private dental clinic was a risky decision but ended up being worth it. “Unfortunately many graduates prefer to wait for a government job. This is a lot of wasted talent. It’s important to look at what makes you happy and what’s right for you."

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