The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) looks forward to increase the number of Bangladeshi travellers to three million annually by 2030 while so far this year over 332,000 Bangladeshis have already visited the oil-rich nation.
This was revealed today at the Saudi Arabian first ever road show on NUSUK, the customer-centric official integrated digital platform (nusuk.sa) for the international travelers planning to visit the kingdom for spiritual and tourism purposes.
The visiting Saudi Minister for Hajj and Umrah Dr Tawfig Al-Rabiah and Nusuk Asia Pacific President Alhasan Aldabbagh were present at the road show held at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in the capital.
On the occasion, the Saudi minister said the brotherly relation between the Kingdom and Bangladesh is tested and proven over time and his government is keen to take it to a new height through exploring new areas of bilateral cooperation.
"As the custodian of Two Holy Mosques, it is a great honor and privilege for us to host the guests of Allah from across the world. It is our holy responsibility and we are committed to do everything possible to make the spiritual journey of the pilgrims safe, accessible, hassle-free and comfortable," he said.
Aldabbagh said his government aim is to increase the ease and accessibility for Bangladeshi travelers, especially with the growing numbers of Umrah pilgrims.
"We have streamlined the visa process with issuance in under 24 hours and are offering Visa-on-arrival services to UK, US, Schengen passport holders allowing them to freely perform Umrah and explore the country's unique cultural diversity," he said.
Besides, he said, Saudi Arabia has increased the duration of Umrah visa to 90 days, reduced the insurance costs for Umrah pilgrims and have made Zamzam water available with any type of visa.
Bangladesh is also eligible for the 96-hour Stopover visa that enables Muslims to add Umrah as an itinerary stop, Nusuk APAC President added.
Nusuk managing director Fahd Hamidaddin said Bangladesh historically has been a very important partner of the Kingdom and continues to be a key strategic market to achieve Saudi's Vision of 2030.
"Our inaugural road show to Bangladesh exceeded expectations, with cross-government and trade partner collaborations, helping us in unlocking tremendous potential for the Bangladeshi travelers," he said.
The road show was attended by Bangladeshi business organizations including Umrah companies, tour operators, travel agencies and trade associations among others.
With Nusuk, travelers from all over the world can easily organize their entire visit, from applying for an e-Visa to booking hotels and flights.
In the future, Nusuk can also be used to schedule visits to important sites, find transportation, curate itineraries, and access on-ground tools such as the Tawaf tracker and more, said the officials.