Dome Tours International

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Dome Tours International's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Dome Tours International is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett, MP
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles, MP

www.dometours.com

1DOME TOURS INTERNATIONAL |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE
Founder and Director Abdel
Rahman Helbawi
Al-Ka’bah, the House of God,
in Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Established in 2002, Dome Tours International began with
one goal: to make the pilgrimage to Mecca a comfortable,
accessible and enjoyable experience for British Muslims.
After 17 years and with an ethos grounded in service, the
company strives to ensure all customer needs are comfortably
met and their expectations exceeded. Founder and Director
Abdel Rahman Helbawi tells
The Parliamentary Review
more.
What began as a small-scale venture in my father’s living room 17 years ago has
since evolved into an established office in the heart of London with nine employees
and over 25 regular volunteers. To date, we have helped over 20,000 pilgrims visit
Mecca and Medina. The pilgrimage is a challenging journey, so we ensure that our
clients are accompanied every step of the way by our experienced staff, and by
doctors and scholars who tend to their every medical and religious need.
As a leading tour operator in the industry, we have been the recipient of several
awards, including Excellence in Hajj Facilitation Award 2012 from World Hajj and
Umrah Convention, Best UK Hajj Tour Operator 2017 and 2018 from The Council of
British Hajjis UK and Hajj and Umrah Business of the Year 2019 from IslamChannel.
No doubt, however, our greatest achievement comes in the form of hearing
how we have transformed lives and reconnected people with their faith through
Hajj and Umrah. We review our service offerings continuously to create the right
environment for the comfort of our clients, and the positive feedback from them
over the years is testament to our high standard of service, professionalism and
expertise. Currently, over 90 per cent of those that travel with us come through
personal recommendation.
FACTS ABOUT
DOME TOURS INTERNATIONAL
»Founder and Director:
Abdel Rahman Helbawi
»Established in 2002
»Based in London
»Services: Hajj and Umrah
pilgrimage tour operator
»No. of employees: 9
»Our network of volunteers
includes doctors, project
managers, electricians,
teachers, hospitality
staff, engineers, religious
scholars, an award-winning
restauranteur and even a
magistrate
Dome Tours
International
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
2| DOME TOURS INTERNATIONAL
A unique experience for every
customer
The spiritual sites of Mecca and
Medina are just two destinations to
which we offer religious tours, and
while they comprise the majority of
our business, we also offer package
holidays to other places. Whether
a relaxing sojourn to the dreamy
coastlines of Jordan, experiencing
the bustling bazaars of Egypt or an
adventurous experience climbing
Kilimanjaro or trekking the Great Wall
of China, we can make it happen.
We recognise that every journey is
different, and we tailor each package
accordingly whether a client is
travelling on their own, with a family,
a group or for business. We are
personable and agile, which allows us
to respond effectively to any brief or
specification a client has.
Our aim is simple: to transform
people’s travel dreams into reality.
A dedicated team
Our balanced team of experienced
guides, Islamic scholars, doctors and
volunteers collectively speak over ten
languages and help create a truly
unique experience for our travellers.
Well-versed in the rituals of Hajj
and Umrah, our volunteers are
professionals in their own right and
apply their personal career skills to
serve pilgrims during the Hajj tour.
This gives life to the ancient concept
of “Rifada”, where the early Arab
tribes would devotedly and voluntarily
contribute their time and money to
serve the guests of God.
We are currently working on mapping
the customer experience journey to
Hajj and Umrah and will produce a
research-based study once completed.
Raising standards through
innovation and technology
Our level of service and detail is
unparalleled and we continue to
operate with this philosophy in mind
to maintain our high standards. We
constantly seek to evolve and improve,
and have pioneered several operations
in our sector including:
»Using comprehensive on-ground
handling software to be able to
retain, access and manage clients’
information at the touch of a button
»Establishing a subsidiary – HajjPro
– to research, design, manufacture
and sell Hajj-specific products such
as Ihram-friendly toiletries, crowd-
safe umbrellas and prayer mats
»Engaging with the wider Muslim
community through social media,
which has led to the production of
short Hajj and Umrah video tutorials
and literature
»Liaising with other organisations
with the aim of making the Hajj
experience more sustainable and
environmentally friendly by utilising
recyclable material and minimising
the use of plastic
»Developing a mobile-friendly
application for users to facilitate
educational tours of the historical
sites in Mecca and Medina
Risk management and Hajj
fraud
As part of our health and safety
protocols, our logistics team undertakes
The Dome Tours team
planning for Hajj 2019
Our aim is
simple: to
transform
people’s travel
dreams into
reality
3DOME TOURS INTERNATIONAL |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE
a great deal of research prior to the
pilgrimage to anticipate and prepare for
crises where necessary. These procedures
include analysis of potential accidents,
fires, heat stroke, crowd control,
missing individuals and even fatality.
We are developing a health and safety
manual that details the necessary
measures to follow should any of the
above scenarios occur. As part of this,
a number of our staff and volunteers
successfully completed a first aid
course and are now qualified first
aiders. We also adhere to health and
safety risk assessments and conduct
crisis management workshops for
our team – something that is not yet
practised by other Hajj and Umrah
operators in the UK.
In addition to our efforts to prepare for
all of the aforementioned situations,
there is one recurring issue we continue
to raise awareness of: Hajjfraud.
In an increasingly competitive market
space, non-licensed Hajj providers
who do not comply with regulations
are commonplace with some even
committing acts of fraud. As the
community is increasingly becoming
more alert to such practices, we
continue to focus on this issue with one
of our key priorities being to educate
people on how to find a reputable
Hajj operator to ensure they do not
fall victim to fraudsters. We have also
participated with and provided training
to Trading Standards on how to
identify and tackle Hajjfraud.
As well as being fully licensed with the
Ministry of Hajj and Umrah in Saudi
Arabia, we hold accreditations with
Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing, the
International Air Transport Association
and the Association of British Travel
Agents. These certifications allow us to
be a voice of reason and influence to
take action to combat such fraud and
deal with other matters specific to the
Hajj industry.
We are also members of Green
Tourism, a global accrediting body for
sustainability in tourism. As well as
environmental issues, we are working to
raise public awareness of health & safety
and security during Hajj. This initiative
will be channelled through a non-profit
organisation which we hope will shed
light on a number of key issues.
Engagement and evolution
We understand the value of community
engagement and, since 2002, have
supported a number of specialist
groups and initiatives. This has
included sponsoring a group of cyclists
who cycled from London to Mecca for
the Hajj pilgrimage in 2017 to raise
money for charity, organising and
subsidising a guided Umrah tour for
Muslim Deaf UK and working closely
with Convert Muslim Foundation
to arrange an Umrah tour for new
converts to Islam.
Alongside our strong social media
presence, we have also featured in
documentaries, news channels and
magazines including Al Jazeera, Al
Arabiyya,
Destinations Guide
and
emel
magazine.
The strength of social and community
collaboration cannot be underestimated,
and we hope that by our holistic
approach serving both the Muslim and
wider community we are able to share
our efforts to raise standards not just
for Hajj and Umrah providers but for
tour operators of all kinds.
The strength of
social and
community
collaboration
cannot be
underestimated
Pilgrims on the plain of
Arafat

www.dometours.com

This article was sponsored by Dome Tours International. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster