Middle East

Umrah pilgrims now free to move around Saudi Arabia

The pilgrims visiting Saudi Arabia for Umrah will now be free to visit anywhere in the Kingdom during their stay, the Saudi Cabinet decided on Tuesday. “The Cabinet has decided to exclude people coming to perform Umrah and to visit the Prophet’s Mosque (in Madinah), of the prohibition of movement outside Makkah, Madinah, and Jeddah. A royal decree has been prepared to this effect,” the acting media minister, Issam bin Saeed, said in a statement to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

Previously, Umrah pilgrims were restricted to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah and the port city of Jeddah from 1983 onwards. Nearly 8 million Muslims will perform Umrah in the Kingdom this year, and the Cabinet’s move will help Saudi Arabia’s plans to boost tourism and the economy.

Saudi Arabia aims to receive 30 million Umrah pilgrims by 2030, and is expected that this will help the country reach its goal. The pilgrims will now be free to plan visits to other Saudi cities, tourist destinations, festivals and events, within the period of their visa validity.