The three-day forum — titled “Digital Transformation in the Hajj, Umrah and Visit System” — was organized by Umm Al-Qura University, represented by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Institute for Hajj and Umrah Research.
The inauguration was attended by academic researchers with an interest in Hajj, Umrah and visit studies, experts in digital transformation, and representatives from the public and private sectors, financial and educational institutions and youth leaders.
Turki Al-Amr, dean of the institute, said that the forum showcases the latest developments in digital transformation in the field, and provide a platform for sharing ideas and knowledge.
About 30 speakers discussed the application and governance of digital transformation in the Hajj and Umrah system. Workshops and an exhibition were also held on the sidelines of the forum.
The forum explored three main issues — governance of digital transformation in the Hajj and Umrah system, applying digital transformation to improve the services provided to pilgrims and visitors to the two holy cities, and developing the processes of decision-making and provided services.
In the first session, headed by Amer bin Awad Al-Zaidi, UQU’s vice president for educational affairs, speakers highlighted legislation and regulations to encourage digital transformation.
They also shed light on governance of data sharing, privacy and data security, as well as digital transformation risks and opportunities, and the role of digital transformation in the sustainability of the economy, environment and society.
This session was followed by a speech by the Saudi Hajj and Umrah Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, the key speaker in the forum. The minister, who is also a member of the supervisory committee of the institute, underlined his ministry’s efforts in digital transformation for the service of pilgrims.
In the second session, which was led by Abdul-Fattah Mashat, deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah, Abdulrahman Al-Sudais, president of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, underlined the digital transformation efforts in the Two Holy Mosques.
Other speakers shed light on the roles digital transformation is playing in receiving pilgrims and visitors to the holy sites. Future utilization of artificial intelligence and its effects in improving Hajj and Umrah services were also discussed in the 90-minute session.
Young people also participated in the Forum’s Hajjathon 2022, a tech competition that aims to connect young generations with the Hajj. Hajjathon activities began a day before the official inauguration of the forum.
Participants competed in creating creative, technical solutions in the fields of health, catering, waste management, transportation, travel arrangements, crowd management, financial solutions, housing, communication solutions, enrichment of pilgrims’ Hajj experience and awareness.
Through training and workshops, developing innovative ideas and counseling sessions, participants will be able to develop their skills, in addition to building relationships with leaders in the field.
Source: Arab News