JEDDAH: Wednesday marked the final day of the international conference and exhibition of Hajj and Umrah services, which kicked off March 21 at the Jeddah Superdome.
The “Transformation to Innovation” conference was organized by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah in collaboration with the Doyof Al Rahman (Guests of Allah) program.
The third day included three lectures: “Funding Needs of Sectors Operating in the Hajj and Umrah Sector”, “Innovation Management in Hajj and Umrah” and “Intelligent Transport for Pilgrims”. The lectures were presented by experts and scholars from the Hajj and Umrah sector.
There was also a special session, “Coordinating Council of Institutions and Enterprises Serving National Pilgrims”, presented by Dr. Saed Al-Jehani, Chairman of the Coordinating Council of Institutions and Enterprises of National Pilgrims.
According to its website, the council aims to coordinate institutions and businesses for pilgrims and relevant government, private and non-profit entities. The council has also put in place initiatives and partnerships to develop the level of service offered to pilgrims.
During the session, Al-Jehani said the council is made up of 185 companies working to generate more creative solutions for the Hajj and Umrah experience.
“We yearn for a better reality, and we should expect the future of Hajj and Umrah to be full of innovative solutions. We want each of our companies to emulate this particular problem,” he said. “At the council, we will be busy providing innovative solutions over the coming Hajj seasons and we will focus on tracks such as accommodation, transport, catering, knowledge content, administrative and health affairs and services. .”
Serving pilgrims, facilitating Hajj and Umrah rituals and increasing the efficiency of services are at the top of the Kingdom’s priorities. The “Hajj and Umrah Challenge” was created to find creative technical solutions that improve the quality of Hajj and Umrah services, enrich the experience of pilgrims and improve the digital infrastructure of the Hajj and Umrah sector.
The “Hajj and Umrah Challenge” was announced by Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, Minister of Hajj and Umrah, on the first day of the conference. Saudi entrepreneurs were invited to come up with creative solutions over three days, through six tracks aimed at creating a better experience for pilgrims, including crowd and waste management, transport, catering, health and accommodation.
More than 1,500 participants registered for the challenge. Over the three days of the conference, they were sorted into 13 entries from over 40 projects that were qualified by a jury from the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.
There were SR150,000 ($40,000) in prize money and 10 ideas advanced to the final stage.
The winners of the challenge were announced and the top ten participants honored. The first three projects won SR50,000, SR30,000 and SR20,000.
First place winner Affaf Al-Hajjaji, Quality Control Manager at Makkah Technical College, said, “A big thank you to the team who worked with me remotely for the past three days. They have proven that as long as there is an urge to work, nothing can stop you.
Dr. Abdulfattah Mashat, Deputy Minister of Hajj and Umrah, said the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah will adopt the top five winning ideas and include them in business accelerators and turn the ideas into reality.
He thanked all those who contributed to the success of the conference and the exhibition, as well as the partners, companies and sponsors.
The accompanying exhibit saw participation from many government and private sectors showcasing products, programs and projects that seek to provide pilgrims with a better experience.
The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque were among the most interesting booths, offering guests the opportunity to experience a virtual reality tour of the “Black Stone”.
It allowed visitors to have an immersive experience seeing the “Kaaba”.