Hajj revenues poised to exceed $150bn by 2022: Experts

Saudi military police officers assist pilgrim at the Grand Mosque in Makkah on Sunday. (AN photo by Ahmed Hashad)
Updated 28 August 2017
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Hajj revenues poised to exceed $150bn by 2022: Experts

MAKKAH: Economic experts have said Hajj and Umrah revenues are poised to exceed $150 billion by 2022 in light of the expected mergers of economic blocs and groupings to meet the growing demand on Hajj and Umrah economics in terms of transport, commercial stores and expansion in small, medium enterprises (SMEs).
Muhsin Al-Sharif, a member of the Committee of Real Estate and Investment, said Hajj revenues will feed the national economy and, therefore, an integrated plan should be worked out to control revenues and financial resources in a manner that will serve Vision 2030.
This will also serve the national economy and create a mega market not only for seasonal jobs, but also for sustainable jobs which form the nerve of Hajj and Umrah economics, he said.
He said the announced plan to host 30 million pilgrims and Umrah performers by 2030 is a real mirror of plans to bring markets in Makkah and Madinah out of disorganization and put them into well-organized economic frameworks serving changing economic mechanisms that attract high returns estimated at billions of dollars annually.
Accordingly, specialized research centers should be established in coordination with the Institute of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for Hajj and Umrah and the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry to provide the economic index, act as a nucleus to attract Saudi capital, and fix the economic figures for Hajj and Umrah seasons in the National Transformation Plan (NTP) 2020.
He said there are a number of opportunities that serve SMEs as they serve a wide sector of Hajjis and Umrah performers.
Al-Sharif said the volume of revenues arising from Hajj and Umrah economics in the next five years is expected to hit $150 billion. However, a small category of investors is exploiting foreign workers and controlling the capital flows which should be fed into investments in the Hajj and Umrah sectors to reflect the dynamics of the growing revenues of the sector, he said.
He said the $150 billion should be directed to re-structure the sector and re-arrange its priorities instead of pumping such money out of the Kingdom. Additionally, decision makers have to be informed on the creation of 100,000 permanent Hajj-related jobs for Saudis, he said.
He said economic aspects of Hajj and Umrah cannot be ignored as they are capable of providing high profit margins in light of mega challenges facing the sector, which will pave the way for the capital flow to Makkah and Madinah, not only in Hajj and Umrah business for the SME sector, but also for the hospitality and hotel sector which captures more than two-thirds of the sector throughout the Kingdom.


Saudi Arabia, UAE to attend US-led Palestine investment meeting

Updated 23 May 2019
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Saudi Arabia, UAE to attend US-led Palestine investment meeting

  • The Palestine Liberation Organization and Islamist group Hamas have called for an Arab boycott of the meeting
  • Saudi Arabia has assured Arab allies that it will not endorse any US plan that fails to meet key Palestinian demands

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia and the UAE will participate in a conference next month in Bahrain aimed at encouraging investment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as part of US President Donald Trump’s long–awaited Israel–Palestine peace plan. 

The Peace to Prosperity conference, to be hosted on June 25–26 in cooperation with the US, has already been rebuffed by Palestinian officials and business leaders, who want their political demands met by any proposed solution to the conflict.

The Palestine Liberation Organization and Islamist group Hamas have called for an Arab boycott of the meeting.

The Saudi minister of economy and planning, Mohammed bin Majid Al–Tuwaijri, will attend, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said Abu Dhabi would also send a delegation.

The Palestinian Authority has boycotted American peace efforts since late 2017, when Trump decided to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognized the latter as the capital of Israel, reversing decades of US policy.

The Trump administration has sought to enlist support from Arab governments.

But Saudi Arabia has assured Arab allies that it will not endorse any US plan that fails to meet key Palestinian demands, which include affirming East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, the right of return for refugees, and a freeze on Israeli settlement construction.