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Saudi Umrah revenues to hit $53 bln by 2020

Five million people will be performing Umrah every year but they will not be expected to assemble in Saudi Arabia at the same time

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The revenues to be generated by the Umrah season are expected to soar over SR200 billion by the year 2020, according to Saad Bin Jameel Al-Qurashi, former member of the National Haj and Umrah Committee of the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

He said about five million people will be performing Umrah every year but they will not be expected to assemble in Saudi Arabia at the same time.

“The pilgrims will arrive in Saudi Arabia over nine month which is the duration of the Umrah season that begins on the first day of the month of Safar (second month in the Islamic calendar) until the end on Shawwal (the 10th month).

This year, the Umrah season began on Nov. 13, 2015 and will continue until late July 2016. Qurashi noted that all the basic infrastructure projects in Makkah and Madinah have been completed or nearing completion.

“Among others, these projects include the Haramain Express Train, the new King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, the expansion of the Taif airport and a number of building towers in the Two Holy Cities,” he said.

He said the Haramain Train will transport about 9,000 pilgrims an hour.

Qurashi said the expansion of the Haj and Umrah services within the Saudi 2030 Vision will provide job opportunities for more than 30,000 young Saudi men and women who will be working in various sectors including accommodation and transport.

He said at present there are about 50 Umrah companies but the Haj Ministry will license about 100 new companies after this year’s Haj season to cater to the increasing service demands.

Qurashi called for the establishment of marketing companies to promote the services being provided by the Haj and Umrah companies.

“The marketing companies should promote the entertainment and tourist programs and the visits to the historical sites in Makkah and Madinah,” he said.

This article first appeared in the Saudi Gazette on Apr. 28, 2016.