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Pilgrims spent more than SR9 billion during this Haj season

Jeddah,19th March 2001

The Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry estimated that pilgrims spent more than SR9 billion during this Haj season. By far the greater part of this huge amount has come from the pockets of foreign pilgrims.

The increase in the spending by the pilgrims compared with last year corresponds to the growth in the number of foreign pilgrims. Interestingly, there was a considerable decrease in the number of domestic pilgrims this year. This decrease in the number of both Saudi and expatriate pilgrims was largely because of the regulations which stipulate that domestic pilgrims should go for Haj only with a permit and only once every five years. The number of pilgrims from foreign countries, who are under no such injunction but are possibly limited by financial and family considerations, has increased to 1.2 million, 70 percent more than a decade ago.

Pilgrims spend about SR800 million for the services of Tawafa organizations, car syndicates and Zam Zam office. They also spend enormous sums on the various levels and styles of accommodation available in and around Makkah and Madinah. Tents in Mina and Arafat account for considerable amounts of expenditure.

According to reliable sources at the transportation companies serving the pilgrims, they earned more than SR700 million this season. Some 12,000 buses and coaches were used this year, which was 1,000 more than last year. Several private bus and car owners also served the pilgrims and accounted for 15 percent of all pilgrim transportation.

With an estimated SR1.5 billion, the building sector in Makkah benefited from the largest share of the pilgrim spending. Rents remained comparatively steady this year though the buildings close to the Grand Mosque showed slight increase in the rent compared to buildings situated a little away from the mosque.

The holy cities registered an increase of 5,000 private residential accommodations while the hotel facilities grew by 20 percent compared with last year.

The MCCI source added that the pilgrims also spent SR4.5 billion on the purchase of sacrificial animals, foods, and gift items. Theses included clothes, electrical appliances, prayer mats, rosary beads and souvenir items.

This year’s Haj season also registered considerable decrease in the number of street hawkers in Makkah and holy sites thanks to the intense campaign by the municipal authorities, police and the officials of chambers of commerce.

Source: Arab News

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19 March 2001 04:49:50 PM

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