Revenue from pilgrims makes 3% of Saudi GDP

Updated 05 January 2013
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Revenue from pilgrims makes 3% of Saudi GDP

Economists have estimated the Kingdom’s revenues from Haj and Umrah services in 2012 at more than SR 62 billion ($ 16.5 billion), 10 percent up from 2011 figures. They also said that Haj revenue accounted for three percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Fahd Al-Andeejani, professor of economics, said there are good prospects for the development of national industries. “We need more specialized markets to meet the needs of pilgrims who come for Haj and Umrah,” he added.
The professor said there are good prospects to establish Asian, European and American restaurants in Makkah and Madinah while highlighting the growing purchasing power of Saudis as a result of increase in salaries and oil prices.
Al-Andeejani estimated the annual expenditure of an Umrah pilgrim at $ 10,000. More than seven million pilgrims come to the Kingdom for Haj and Umrah and the money they spend could boost the Kingdom’s economy.
He called for providing world-class services to Haj and Umrah pilgrims. A lot of investments are required for this purpose. He estimated the Kingdom’s total revenue from Haj and Umrah at more than SR 62 billion.
Al-Andeejani called for greater efforts to create more job opportunities for Saudis during the Haj and Umrah seasons.
“Despite the large Haj and Umrah market, the sale of Saudi products including gift items was low,” said Khaled Al-Qurashi, owner of a Haj and Umrah service company. He said handicrafts of Saudi productive families lacked marketing channels required for its success. Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat Arabic daily, Al-Qurashi said Saudi gift items are facing big competition from Chinese products. He stressed the need for strengthening the capabilities of young Saudi men and women in making innovative gift items with a Makkah and Madinah touch for sale among pilgrims and other visitors.
He believed that Saudi products could make a revenue of SR 500 million to SR 800 million annually if properly marketed.
Fahd Al-Kabkabi, owner of shops selling souvenirs and gifts, urged Saudi youth to start small and medium enterprises to produce gift items to market among pilgrims.
“This is a potential area for young Saudi entrepreneurs to enter and progress. It can also create more jobs for Saudis,” he added. “We need more gift items made in Saudi Arabia to distribute among pilgrims.”
Al-Kabkabi urged traders to promote Saudi products by giving them good display at their shops.
According to Abdul Hameed Abalarry, director of King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, about six million foreign pilgrims performed Umrah in 2012.
He spoke about the coordination between the Haj Ministry and the General Authority of Civil Aviation in dispatching pilgrims to the airport, saying the ministry has agreed not to send any pilgrim to the airport without confirmed booking.
GACA officials at the Haj Terminal’s entrance make sure that only those pilgrims with confirmed booking are allowed to enter the airport in order to avoid overcrowding of passengers, he said.


Saudi MERS outbreaks killed 23 over four months: WHO

Updated 18 June 2018
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Saudi MERS outbreaks killed 23 over four months: WHO

  • The latest figures take the number of confirmed cases to 2,220 since September 2012, including 1,844 from Saudi Arabia
  • The disease is hard to spot, partly because it often infects people with an underlying condition such as diabetes, renal failure or chronic lung disease

GENEVA: Outbreaks of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) killed 23 people in Saudi Arabia between Jan. 21 and May 31 this year, the World Health Organization said on Monday.
The deaths were among 75 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV) during the period, the WHO said, and take the total number of deaths from the disease to 790 since it was first diagnosed in humans in 2012.
The latest figures take the number of confirmed cases to 2,220 since September 2012, including 1,844 from Saudi Arabia.
One outbreak in February hit a private hospital in Hafer Albatin region, where the patient passed the disease to three health workers. There was another cluster of six cases in a hospital in Riyadh in the same month, although no health care workers were infected.
Two other clusters affected households in Jeddah and Najran.
MERS-CoV is a member of a virus family ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. It appears to have emerged in humans in Saudi Arabia in 2012, although it has been traced in camels, the source of the infection, back to at least 1983.
The disease is hard to spot, partly because it often infects people with an underlying condition such as diabetes, renal failure or chronic lung disease.
But it kills one in three sufferers, and hospital workers are at risk unless extreme caution is taken to identify MERS sufferers early and to protect health care workers from infection via airborne droplets such as from coughs and sneezes.
Susceptible people should avoid contact with suspected cases and with camels, and anyone who has contact with animals should wash their hands before and afterwards, the WHO said. Everyone should avoid drinking raw camel milk or camel urine, or eating undercooked meat.
Three MERS cases have been reported this year outside Saudi Arabia. Oman and the United Arab Emirates each reported a case, while in Malaysia a man fell ill after drinking unpasteurised camel milk during a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.