JEDDAH — Saudi Arabia is exploring the prospect of dividing the Grand Mosque and its courtyards in Makkah into coded zones in order to facilitate the smooth access of worshipers and workers.

The General Authority for the Care of the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in this regard with the Saudi Postal and Logistics Services Company (SPL). The signing ceremony was held on the sidelines of the Hajj and Umrah Services Conference and Exhibition 2024.

Under the MoU, the SPL will carry out study about dividing the Grand Mosque and its courtyards into coded zones to help accurately determine geographical locations and facilitate spatial description so as to guide worshippers and workers in the sprawling mosque and its premises.

The deal is also aimed to gauge performance, and distribution of working personnel based on the accommodation and operational capacity, and thus ensuring the highest standards of services provided at Islam’s holiest shrine.

It is noteworthy that the Grand Mosque witnessed the highest number of Umrah pilgrims in its history during the last year. Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said recently that more than 13.5 million foreign pilgrims performed Umrah in 2023. This figure showed a 58 percent increase, with a total of five million more pilgrims compared to the previous year, the minister said.

“I am pleased to share some good and unprecedented news. The highest number of pilgrims arriving from outside the Kingdom in 2019 was 8.5 million. This year, and in light of the facilities introduced by the Saudi leadership, the number rose to 13,550,000 million Umrah pilgrims,” al-Rabiah said in the opening session of the the Hajj and Umrah Services Conference and Exhibition, which kicked off at Jeddah Superdome on Jan. 8.

The Saudi government is keen on ensuring elaborate arrangements and facilities to enable the Hajj and Umrah pilgrims to perform their rituals in ease and comfort.

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