Islamic Lifestyle 

Rihaala.com becomes first halal-friendly OTA to offer DIY Umrah packages following new Saudi visa rules

| 08 October, 2019

Singapore, 8th October, 2019: Rihaala.com has become the first halal-friendly Online Travel Agency (OTA) to offer DIY Umrah packages following Saudi Arabia’s historic move to offer e-visas to citizens of 49 countries globally.

Muslims from the seven Asian countries eligible for the tourist visas, as well as Rihaala’s trade partners in the region, can now plan and book travel to the Holy Cities on one dynamic platform.

They can hand-pick every aspect of the spiritual journey, from flights and hotels to transfers and post-Umrah travel and excursions, all carefully selected for their halal-friendly amenities and services by the Rihaala team.

A dedicated Rihaala ‘Agent Hub’ was also recently launched, enabling travel agents to package Umrah travel itineraries for their clients and earn commission on their bookings.

“Saudi Arabia’s introduction of tourist e-visas is a huge game-changer for Muslims around the world who are no longer required to use an agent to arrange their visa when travelling to the kingdom to perform Umrah,” said Rihaala founder Nabeel Shariff.

“Rihaala.com is the only dynamic platform with halal-friendly content to give pilgrims, as well as travel industry partners, the freedom to create and book their Umrah itinerary using one convenient online portal that offers transparency of choice and pricing.”

As part of its Vision 2030 economic diversification strategy, Saudi Arabia has ambitions to increase Umrah visitors from 18.3 million in 2018 to 15 million by 2020 and 30 million by 2030. The ground-breaking move to introduce tourist visas, which was announced on 27September and implemented the following day (28 September), allows residents from 49 countries to apply for their visa online or on arrival at any of the kingdom’s four international airports.

Visas are priced US$80 and are valid for 360 days from the date of issue for stays of 90 days or less and for a total of no more than 180 days in a single year.

In Asia, the tourist visa can be purchased by citizens of Malaysia, which is one of Saudi Arabia’s largest religious tourism source markets, as well as Singapore, Brunei, Japan, South Korea, Kazakhstan and China, including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

They can then log onto Rihaala.com to arrange and book their Umrah travel plans.

Rihaala, which means ‘journeys’ in Arabic, launched as the world’s first dynamic booking engine dedicated to halal travel content in April, offering modern Muslims a choice of more than 1,500 properties in 40-plus destinations worldwide and the chance to explore – and be inspired by – usergenerated content sourced from Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

The OTA also provides in-depth information on destinations and hotels to help Muslim travellers select products and services that meet their faith-based requirements.

Content includes halal dining options, privacy enhancements, alcohol-free environments, prayer facilities, family-friendly experiences, as well as a lifestyle-led blogs spanning multiple genres of interest to Muslim consumers.

Nabeel will be introducing Rihaala.com and promoting its DIY Umrah capabilities to the Asian market at next week’s ITB Asia, which takes place at Marina Bay Sands from 16-18 October. He is also speaking at the event’s Muslim Travel Conference on Wednesday 16 October at 12 noon, leading a Rihaala.com-sponsored session entitled ‘Seven ways to make Muslim travellers love your destination’.

Nabeel is available to meet media representatives during ITB Asia. Please do not hesitate to get in contact to arrange an interview. For more information on Saudi Arabia’s new visa initiative, read Rihaala’s insightful blog, 7 things your need to know about the new Saudi tourist visa.

Copyright Press Releases 2019

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