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
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.
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