Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Saudi Arabia Can Receive Six Million Pilgrims Next Hajj Seasons | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba at the Grand mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia September 8, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

Jeddah- Specialists in Hajj affairs assured that Saudi Arabia has all requirements to receive more than six million pilgrims during the coming seasons, based on its solid infrastructure, size of projects executed in the holy sites, its national cadre and economic power.

The kingdom succeeded during the current Umrah season in hosting more than 6,750 million pilgrims, an increase of more than 400,000 pilgrims, coming from all over the world based on statistics of Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.

The ministry’s statistical report also revealed that the number of Pakistani pilgrims was the highest (1.4 million), then Indonesians (875,958) while Iraqis’ number was the highest among Arab states (264, 878).

Specialists stated that the constant dealing with more than nine million Hajj and Umrah pilgrims throughout the year has enabled Saudi Arabia to put plans to increase the number of pilgrims as the new projects reach an end.

Chairman of the Kingdom’s National Committee for Hajj and Umrah Marwan Shaaban told Asharq Al-Awsat that King Salman’s government pays huge attention to serving pilgrims in a way that suits the religious value of the Two Holy Mosques.

Shaaban added that the kingdom carries out new projects and services every year worth millions of dollars to facilitate performance of rituals and assimilate the expected increase in number of pilgrims.

In a related matter, economists see that the annual increase in pilgrims’ number – in tandem with Saudi Vision 2030 – will directly reflect on sectors of hotels and transportation during the coming period.

“All indicators prove that there is a remarkable investment growth in hotels for several factors including the Saudi strategy to expand investment to all segments,” said economist Dr. Louay Tayar.