America, UK and France are leading inbound Hajj markets to Saudi Arabia
Following the news that Western pilgrims can now apply for a Hajj lottery, Motawif, the online registration portal enabling pilgrims to register their interest, is receiving high volumes of traffic.
The Motawif platform allows global pilgrims to register electronically for Hajj season. So far, the platform has recorded more than 100,000 registrations from 56 countries, with the greatest volume coming from Europe, America and Australia.
Motawif was developed by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah in line with Saudi Vision 2030 goal to increase religious tourism.
The online portal includes various packages, support services, a live-chat function, and a 24/7 call centre in three languages for pilgrims seeking to perform Hajj.
Motawif has also introduced electronic visas in order to simplify and expedite the registration and application process.
Commenting on the response to the new platform, Motawif chairman Ahmed Boshnak said: “We’re delighted to have the opportunity to play a core role in making international pilgrims’ lives easier through the launch of Motawif platform by directly selecting their preferred services online.
“In parallel, this platform will also allow for an array of cost-effective packages for their entire Hajj journey. The demand since our launch has been rapid and global, with applicants from 56 countries. It has been an honour to work alongside the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, and we are excited about the next few days as the full launch of the platform and allocations are decided.”
Key dates in the Hajj registration process:
- 10 to 12 June: Pilgrims can submit their application for Hajj and indicate their preferred package category
- 13 June: Random selection of applications and reviews will begin
- 15 June: Notification of successful Hajj applicants (pilgrims will now be able to select their preferred Hajj package and process payments)
- 22 June: First flights expected to arrive in Saudi Arabia
Hajj and Umrah vice minister Dr Abdulfattah Mashat added: “In our role as sector regulator, the new portal comes within the framework of the Ministry’s strategy to develop the digital experience for the pilgrims. These efforts aim to facilitate the procedures and provide transparency and competitive prices for pilgrims.”