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Ministry of Haj and Umrah: Record pilgrim numbers achieved

Worshippers pray at the Prophet's Mosque on Friday, June 23, 2017. (SPA)
MADINAH: A recent report issued by the Ministry of Haj and Umrah revealed a rise in the number of pilgrims this year, despite economic and security conditions experienced by some Arab countries.
According to the report, visas issued to pilgrims for the current year numbered about 6.75 million, compared with 6.39 million last year.
Minister of Haj and Umrah Mohammed Saleh bin Taher Benten said that this ongoing growth in the number of pilgrims and visitors comes in line with the objectives of Vision 2030.
Undersecretary of the Ministry of Haj and Umrah Mohammed bin Hamed Al-Klaiby confirmed the high occupancy rate of hotels during the current Umrah season, indicating an increase in occupancy rates in five-star hotels of 113 percent, while the occupancy rate in four-star hotels increased by 71.2 percent.
The report pointed out that economic and security conditions contributed to the decrease of Umrah performers from some countries. However, efforts exerted by the ministry to support the efforts of Umrah companies have compensated for the shortage of pilgrims coming from Egypt, Turkey and Jordan. The increase in Umrah visas came from other countries such as the United States, Germany and Norway.
The report revealed that Pakistanis top the list of pilgrims, with the total number of pilgrims at 1,446,284, up 45 percent from the previous year. Indonesians came second with an increase of 25 percent with 875,958 pilgrims, followed by Indians with 524,604 pilgrims. Pilgrims from Bangladesh numbered 80,977, and 264,878 Umrah visas were issued to Iraqis, up 58 percent.

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