Saudis account for most domestic hajj campaign places

That Egyptian expatriates occupy second place with 10 percent of seats

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About 60 percent of the seats available at the domestic hajj campaigns has been taken up by Saudi citizens, according to a reservation official at a local hajj company.

Abd al-Sahli said that Egyptian expatriates occupy second place with 10 percent of seats. The hajj Ministry had provided 15,000 seats in the low-cost hajj campaigns and all these seats were reserved early, he said.

Sahli said the average price this year for the low-cost campaigns was $665 per person while the rate of VIP packages cost $4,000 to $5,300 and sometimes more.

Abdulaziz al-Jahdali, another reservation official, said low-cost packages have this year attracted more pilgrims than in any other year. “This was due to the strict measures taken by concerned authorities to prevent people going for hajj without a permit and against pilgrims squatting in Makkah and the Holy Sites.”

He said most Saudis who had come to them for reservations were mainly concerned with the services that would be provided for them during the pilgrimage, while expatriates mostly looked at costs.

Jahdali said the majority of Saudis opted to join the VIP campaigns regardless of their high prices because they wanted better services.

Saud Allihaibi, an employee of a domestic hajj campaign, said Indonesians, Pakistanis and Indians were the leading expatriate groups that had signed up for the local packages. Hassan Abu Al-Majd, an Egyptian engineer, said he was told by many of his friends that the low-cost hajj campaigns do not usually provide good services.

Khaled Asiri, a Saudi employee of a government hospital in Jeddah, said he had looked for a campaign with tents in Mina close to the Jamarat area. Asiri said he was most interested in the means of transport the campaign would provide after his friends told him that not many of these packages have convenient transport means.

Abdul Rahman Abdo, an employee of a hajj campaign in Jeddah, said many citizens and expatriates had canceled their reservations with low-cost hajj campaigns after they found out their services were low standard.

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