The implementation of Vision 2030 has brought remarkable advancements in the range of services provided to pilgrims visiting the Sacred House of God. Through its comprehensive programs and initiatives, this vision has created unprecedented opportunities for Muslims from all corners of the world to perform Hajj and Umrah with the utmost convenience. The rapid development of infrastructure projects in the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, as well as the holy sites, has been instrumental in facilitating this progress.
In the pursuit of excellence, King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques (may God protect him), introduced the Guests of the Merciful Program in 2019 as part of the Saudi Vision 2030, under the visionary guidance of HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince and Prime Minister (may God protect him). This program aims to cater to various aspects of pilgrims’ needs, including accommodation, transportation, nutrition, healthcare, and guidance and counseling services. Its primary objective is to ensure that pilgrims receive comprehensive support and assistance throughout their sacred journey, further enhancing their pilgrimage experience.
Enriching the pilgrim experience
The objective of the program goes beyond the development of ritual-related services. It strives to enhance the experience of the Guests of the Merciful by facilitating their pilgrimage to the Two Holy Mosques, ensuring exceptional services, enriching their knowledge, and supporting their religious and cultural journey. The program aims to meet the guests' expectations, cater to their needs, and create a memorable experience for them.
The Guests of the Merciful Program is dedicated to enriching the religious and cultural experience of the guests by granting them access to historical and cultural sites in the regions of Makkah Al-Mukarramah and Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah. Through the rehabilitation, development, and improvement of these sites, such as historical mosques, monuments, and invasion sites, the program aims to introduce the guests to the rich heritage of Makkah Al-Mukarramah and Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah. It also seeks to inspire them to explore further and discover the diverse attractions of the Kingdom.
To ensure a unique spiritual experience for the pilgrims and Umrah participants, the program meticulously plans their journey, focusing on seven key aspects. These include pre-arrival preparations, efficient arrival and departure arrangements, seamless movement within the region, organized visits to the Two Holy Mosques and sacred sites, meticulous attention to health and safety during the performance of rituals and providing exceptional hospitality. Furthermore, the program encourages the guests to embark on a voyage of discovery throughout the Kingdom, inviting them to explore and experience the various offerings of the country.
The program has boasts numerous accomplishments through collaboration with relevant entities. Notable achievements include the introduction of electronic visas for pilgrims and Umrah performers from all countries, as well as the extension of the Umrah season. Furthermore, several technological advancements have been made, such as the successful launch of initiatives like “Iyab”, “Smart Hajj”, and “Hajj Without Luggage”, along with the implementation of comprehensive health insurance.
Similarly, the Guests of the Merciful Program has exemplified its integration and cooperation with 70 governmental, private, and non-profit entities. This collaboration aims to enhance and enrich the experience of pilgrims and Umrah participants by preparing the Two Holy Mosques, tourist and cultural sites, and providing exceptional services before, during, and after their visit to Makkah Al-Mukarramah, Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah, and the holy sites. This reflects the honorable and civilized image of the Kingdom in serving the Two Holy Mosques.
In addition to its excellence in managing large crowds, the Kingdom uses its capabilities to work within a tightly integrated system that combines infrastructure and techniques for measuring human densities, pre-prepared promotional programs, and the plans of security authorities to effectively manage and organize crowds. These unified efforts aim to ensure that all Muslims can perform their rituals with peace and ease.
The Kingdom’s ambition, within the framework of Vision 2030, goes beyond providing good hospitality and service to pilgrims and Umrah participants. In the future, the Kingdom aims to digitize all Hajj procedures, from arrival to safe departure back to their respective countries. This ambitious goal reflects the Kingdom’s commitment to embracing digital advancements and leveraging technology to enhance the overall Hajj experience.