According to the latest statistics released by the Ministry of Haj and Umrah, about 6.75 million visas were issued for Muslims to perform the minor pilgrimage this year. This is an increase of nearly 6 percent compared to last year when 6.39 million Umrah visas were issued.
Minister of Haj and Umrah Mohammed Saleh Banten said this ongoing increase in the number of pilgrims and visitors was in line with the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030.
Mohammed Al-Klaiby, undersecretary at the Ministry of Haj and Umrah, said occupancy rates in hotels in Makkah and Madinah were very high this season. He said there was a 113 percent increase in occupancy at five-star hotels while the occupancy rate in four-star hotels rose by 71.2 percent.
The ministry’s report said economic and security conditions contributed to the drop in Umrah performers from some countries such as Egypt, Turkey and Jordan. There was an increase in the number of Umrah pilgrims from the United States, Germany, Norway and other countries.
Pakistanis topped the list of Umrah pilgrims this year with a total of 1,446,284, which is up 45 percent compared to the previous year. Indonesians came second with 875,958 pilgrims, which is a 25 increase from last year. Indians came next with 524,604 pilgrims while 80,977 pilgrims came from Bangladesh.
A total of 264,878 Umrah visas were issued to Iraqis, an increase of 58 percent compared to last year. — SG/SPA