ASTANA – Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah visited the Kazakh capital on Sept. 26 to discuss ways to improve cooperation in the sphere of tourism, in particular pilgrimage tourism, reported the press service of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Kazakhstan.
The main objective of the minister’s visit was to improve the procedures accompanying the pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina so that Kazakh pilgrims could focus on prayer.
“Muslims worldwide are looking forward to the opportunity to perform Hajj. This year, 4,000 Kazakh citizens received such a right. This became possible due to the attention and efforts of the leadership of Saudi Arabia,” said Kazakh Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov in a Sept. 27 meeting with Dr. Al-Rabiah.
Kazakh Culture and Sports Minister Dauren Abayev, Minister of Industry and Infrastructure Development Kairbek Uskenbayev, and the Supreme Mufti Nauryzbai Taganuly met with the Saudi minister to discuss new services for Kazakh pilgrims, including a website via which people can apply for an umrah visa in a simplified format.
They also discussed the tourism potential of Kazakhstan and expressed hope that new direct flights to Saudi Arabia will increase the mutual flow of tourists.
“We expect a large influx of tourists from Saudi Arabia and are delighted with Kazakhstan’s nature and historical places in the country. We intend to create the necessary conditions for the development of tourism,” Al-Rabiah said.