Egyptian pilgrims ‘top spenders’ during Hajj and Umrah seasons

Egyptian pilgrims ‘top spenders’ during Hajj and Umrah seasons
There is a connection between the pilgrim’s economy back home and their purchasing power and aspirations when in Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
Updated 11 May 2019

Egyptian pilgrims ‘top spenders’ during Hajj and Umrah seasons

Egyptian pilgrims ‘top spenders’ during Hajj and Umrah seasons

MAKKAH: Pilgrim spending in Makkah and Madinah needs to be examined and encouraged, Hajj and Umrah sector experts have told Arab News.
Millions of Muslims visit the two holy cities annually, with more than 6 million umrah visas issued this year so far, but their shopping needs to be stimulated with a greater offering of specialty products that showcase Saudi Arabia and the two holy cities.
Egyptians top the list of spending, according to the head of the tourism and hotels committee at the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Aziz Awliyaa.
“Egyptians top the list of spending, followed by Iraqis, Algerians and Turks,” he told Arab News, adding there was a connection between the pilgrim’s economy back home and his or her purchasing power and aspirations when in Saudi Arabia.
“A pilgrim spends an average of $700 during a period of 10 days, five days spent in Madinah and five days spent in Makkah.”
Saad Jameel Al-Qurashi, the former chairman of the National Committee for Hajj and Umrah at the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that different nationalities spent different lengths of time in the Kingdom.
“Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals prefer to stay for 30 days, while some Egyptian pilgrims prefer to stay up to 20 days,” he told Arab News. He said that pilgrims spent up to $1,000 in a 10-day period.
Data from the Hajj Ministry, released earlier this month, showed that the largest number of pilgrims are from Pakistan (1,353,625) followed by Indonesia (881,459), India (579,443), Egypt (405,750) and Turkey (279,038).
Al-Qurashi said that one way to cater for a diverse international audience was to globalize food and beverage outlets.
“There is a need to open foreign restaurants in Makkah to give pilgrims the opportunity to leave their hotels, visit these restaurants and taste dishes in a modern setting that stimulates the hospitality sector and supports diversity for more than 150 nationalities that meet in one place during Ramadan.”
He explained that purchasing power was not just determined by nationality or the economic situation in a pilgrim’s home country. There was also a desire to find added value, he said. “Pilgrims are keen to buy items that they do not find in their countries, and that imposes the challenge of diversifying markets so they cater to the pilgrims’ various requirement.”
There was a “dire need” to establish research economic bodies to examine expenditure rates and requirements for pilgrims and to cope with the increase in pilgrim numbers every year, he added.
Al-Qurashi said there was also a need to come up with special gifts for pilgrims who preferred souvenirs made by Saudi nationals and “exemplified the spirit of Makkah.”


Saudi FM: Kingdom committed to resolving regional tensions

Updated 10 min 6 sec ago

Saudi FM: Kingdom committed to resolving regional tensions

Saudi FM: Kingdom committed to resolving regional tensions

Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said that Saudi Arabia was committed to the “diplomatic resolution of regional tensions,” during the IISS Manama Dialogue on Saturday.

Saudi Arabia – along with the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt – severed diplomatic ties with Doha in June 2017. They accused Qatar of supporting regional extremist organizations and terrorist groups, and want the country to change its policies as a condition for dialogue.

Saudi Arabia continues its commitment to “maintaining multilateral frameworks to tackle the challenges we face today,” the prince said during the dialogue discussions taking place in Bahrain.

 

In addressing regional security and stability, the minister also highlighted the Palestinian-Israel issue and the need to reach a deal.

“For Saudi, it is critical to get the Israelis and the Palestinians back to the negotiating table. That is the only way to bring about lasting regional peace,” he said.