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

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

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.


Religious leaders denounce extremism in Europe

Updated 03 December 2020

Religious leaders denounce extremism in Europe

Religious leaders denounce extremism in Europe

RIYADH: The King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID), in collaboration with the European Council of Religious Leaders, organized a virtual dialogue seminar under the theme “The Contributions of Religious Leaders in Tackling Violent Extremism and Promoting Social Cohesion in Europe: Fight and Response.”
The seminar was part of a series of initiatives by KAICIID to promote social cohesion in Europe following recent terrorist attacks in France and Austria. 
KAICIID’s secretary-general, Faisal bin Muaammar, said that terrorists’ behavior stemmed from a false and misleading understanding of their religion. “They chose the language of violence, leaving behind all peaceful alternatives,” he said.

HIGHLIGHT

The seminar was part of a series of initiatives by KAICIID to promote social cohesion in Europe following recent terrorist attacks in France and Austria.

Bin Muaammar highighted the effects social media platforms have in fueling violence and hatred after similar attacks in recent years.
“The responses and counter-responses from followers of religions and cultures in Europe and the world at large fuel controversy, hate speech and crimes according to research and studies adopted in this regard,” he said.
“The abuse of religion on one hand, and the targeting of societal components, religion, race and culture, on the other hand, have become an exciting feature of some societies. Last week, there was an attack on a rabbi on a street in Vienna because of his apparent religious identity only. Behind every story like this, there may be hundreds of similar stories out of the spotlight,” he added.
Participants addressed several themes, including the effectiveness of dialogue, and strengthening partnerships between religious leaders and policymakers to prevent extremism and potential violence.
Bin Muammar said that the virtual seminar reflects the center’s attempt to “provide space for reflection, confidence and participation.”