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.


US highlights Saudi Arabia’s key role in global fight against terrorism

Saudi Arabia has continued to maintain a strong anti-terrorism relationship with the US. (SPA)
Updated 5 min 56 sec ago
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US highlights Saudi Arabia’s key role in global fight against terrorism

  • The US State Department pointed out that the Kingdom has achieved a high level of accuracy in its counterterrorism operations

WASHINGTON: The US State Department has praised Saudi Arabia for its efforts to combat terrorism, describing the Kingdom as an active and key member in the global coalition to defeat Daesh.
“Saudi Arabia has continued to maintain a strong anti-terrorism relationship with the United States and has supported the strengthening of bilateral cooperation between the two countries,” the State Department noted in its annual report on the global state of terrorism. It also highlighted the joint strategic vision between the two countries and a number of new initiatives to counter terrorist messages and disrupt the financing of terrorism launched last year during US president Donald-Trump’s visit to the Kingdom.
The report said Saudi Arabia has implemented systems to follow UN Security Council sanctions on groups and individuals linked to Daesh and Al Qaeda, and has expanded existing counterterrorism programs and projects to rehabilitate terrorist fighters who leave extremist groups. It has also adopted laws to counter the financing of terrorist groups.
The State Department pointed out that the Kingdom has achieved a high level of accuracy in its counterterrorism operations, and has carried out a number of arrests and disrupted active terrorist cells throughout the country.
The report referred to terrorist plans that were thwarted in the Kingdom, noting the efforts being made in legislation, law enforcement and border security, as well as the country’s positive contribution as a member of the Financial Action Task Force for the Middle East and North Africa, a regional body that imposes financial sanctions on individuals and groups that help to fund terrorism.
"The Kingdom has maintained strict control over the banking sector and tightened sanctions on the financing of terrorism," the report said.
It also pointed out that the Kingdom provided 100 million euros ($117 million) to fight terrorism in the Sahel countries in Africa, as the Kingdom is a founding member of the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum.