Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, the Makkah Governor, will inaugurate a global conference and exhibition of Hajj and Umrah firms at the Jeddah Superdome. The 2-day event, dubbed “Transformation Towards Innovation”, is co-sponsored by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah and the Doyof Al Rahman (Company of Allah) Program. “Transformation Towards Innovation” aims to come up with ideas that would benefit the Hajj and Umrah sectors, in parity with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
In the early 1950s, the number of pilgrims abroad rarely topped 100,000, and Saudi institutions were still in the early stages of development. Nonetheless, by the early 2000s, the overall number of Hajj pilgrims had surpassed 2 million, recently peaking at well over 3 million. Increasing number of pilgrims have put enormous strain on Makkah’s infrastructure and authorities. Hundreds of people have died in periodic tragedies such as fires and stampedes, the most recent of which occurred in 2015. Since then, the Saudi authorities have spent a significant amount of money in an ongoing effort to improve Hajj facilities and management.
Transformation Towards Innovation
Transformation Towards Innovation is an initiative to assist entrepreneurs in improving the pilgrim experience.
Three sessions, including notable speakers, specialists, and academics from the Hajj and Umrah sectors and the presence of 30 ministers from throughout the Islamic world, is to be held on the first day of the conference.
The 3 sessions will focus on
- Transformation Toward Innovation And Technology,
- Improving and designing new Digital Experience for Pilgrims,
- Pioneering Actions and Innovation In Hajj Services.
Ibrahim A. Al-Omar (Director-general of Saudia Airlines) Col. General Suliman Al-Yahya (General Director of Passports), Abdulrahman Addas, (the CEO of the Royal Commission for Makkah City and Holy Sites), and Al-Rabiah are among the speakers in the first session.
On the margins of the conference, an exhibition will showcase programs, products, and initiatives from individuals working in the Hajj and Umrah sectors.
On the initial day of the conference, two workshops will also be held
- The Art Of Engaging With Pilgrims
- Design Thinking In The Sphere Of Hajj And Umrah.
Further, the International Conference will be held in 2 stages
1st Stage: It will be a three-day Hajj Creative Hackathon to provide practical, creative solutions to Hajj services. The winners will get a prize of SAR 150,000.
2nd Stage: The Kingdom’s entrepreneurs are the focus of the second stage. They’ll participate in The Open Innovation Platform, sharing recommendations and concepts. Several events and workshops to attract more entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial efforts into the Hajj and Umrah sector will likely to be held during this stage. The ministry and the Small and Medium Enterprises Normal Authority (Monsha’at) will foster and support these small businesses.
Conference’s final goal
Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, Minister of Hajj and Umrah, stated that the number of pilgrims allowed to perform Hajj this year would be chosen based on the results of ongoing studies. He stated that the studies are being carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Health to assure the pilgrims’ and Hajj’s safety.
Through the Hajj Talk platform, the conference will discuss the most exemplary innovative and successful ideas. The discussion will take place on issues compatible with the future of the two Holy Mosques, such as smart cities and constructing special development zones.