SA delegation in Saudi Arabia for Hajj Expo

Thousands of patrons attend the Hajj Expo 2023 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

Thousands of patrons attend the Hajj Expo 2023 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

Published Jan 9, 2023


RIYADH – Members of the South African Hajj and Umrah Council (SAHUC) are attending the Hajj Expo 2023 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which began on Monday.

The Hajj Expo 2023 is a four-day exhibition held to assist pilgrims at the Two Holy Mosques – and enhance religious and cultural experiences. The expo ends on Thursday.

The SAHUC delegation team has five members: president Shaheen Essop, first deputy president Sheikh Adam Macheso, board member and previous head of mission Ismail Kholvadia, board member and assistant treasurer Asif Essop, board member and assistant general secretary Mooaz Casoo.

Ismail Kholvadia, left, Sheikh Adam Macheso, Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, Shaheen Essop, Asif Essop and Mooaz Casoo. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

At a previous meeting held by the SAHUC, secretary-general Hassan Choonara highlighted a few topics in preparation for the upcoming Hajj season. Choonara said they were invited to the Hajj Expo 2023, and that there is no age limit for Hajj applicants.

South Africa is one of 56 countries expected to attend the conference, which is expected to involve over 400 agreements and partnerships. The expo will consist of 36 workshops and related activities, 13 panel discussions, and 10 keynote sessions. One of the most notable events during the expo is the “Hajj Talks” and the “Hajj Hackathon”.

It aims to create an integrated and sustainable ecosystem to improve pilgrims’ experiences, anticipate their future trends and establish opportunities for further collaborations, agreements, and local and international initiatives.

Individuals praying during the Hajj Expo 2023. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

Minister of Hajj and Umrah, Dr Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah, said the conference will allow entrepreneurs, innovators, and researchers from more than 200 global organisations to share successful experiences, and brainstorm sustainable solutions designed to cater to pilgrims’ aspirations and needs.

“This reflects the unrelenting support dedicated by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and the Crown Prince to the Hajj and Umrah sector, in line with the Saudi Vision 2030,” he said.

The 2021 edition of the conference saw record numbers with over 45 000 attendees and 115 commercial agreements. The second edition will feature a wide range of scientific sessions, workshops, and training programmes, with several ministers of Islamic affairs, endowments and Hajj ambassadors and consuls, and Hajj and Umrah operators from around the world.

Companies such as the Company for Co-operative Insurance (Tawuniya), and Saudi Arabia Railways (SAR), Saudi Public Transport Company (SAPTCO), Mohamed Yousuf Naghi Motors Corporation, Flynas, and the Saudi Al-Qaid Transportation Company will be sponsoring the expo.

Daily News