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

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.


Two new academies to boost Saudi arts, heritage and music

Updated 19 August 2019

Two new academies to boost Saudi arts, heritage and music

  • One academy specializing in heritage and traditional arts and crafts will start receiving applications in autumn 2020
  • A second academy dedicated to music will receive 1,000 students and trainees from 2021

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is to set up arts academies, including two in the next two years, offering a step toward academic qualification and enlarging the Kingdom’s footprint in heritage, arts and crafts, and music.

The initiative is part of the Ministry of Culture’s Quality of Life program. 

The minister, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan, said investment in “capacity building” was one of the most important elements in encouraging the cultural sector, which enjoyed unlimited support from King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The Kingdom was rich in diverse arts, talents and artistic production, Prince Badr said, and the academies would be a first step toward academic qualification in the arts within the Kingdom.

One academy specializing in heritage and traditional arts and crafts will start receiving applications in autumn 2020, targeting 1,000 students and trainees in long- and short-term programs. 

A second academy dedicated to music will receive 1,000 students and trainees from 2021.

The music academy in particular will be “the core of music production and talent development in Saudi Arabia,” Saudi musician, composer and producer Mamdouh Saif told Arab News.

The music industry was a large and diverse field, Saif said, and education was crucial. 

“The academy is the right place to launch the music industry in Saudi Arabia, and it will have a significant impact on Saudi youth, and young people in surrounding countries,” he said.

He expects “a very high turnout” for the academy among young Saudis. 

“Due to my expertise in this area, I receive many questions from people who want to learn music, but through private lessons,” he said.

“But the availability of an academy for this purpose, that teaches music in a methodological way, will be the right start for those interested in music.”