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Hajj, Umrah bring in SR30 bn in revenue

altJuly 1 - The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia annually earns over SR30 billion from Haj and Umrah, a figure that could be doubled if the two seasons were professionally managed, said Abdul Ghani Hammad Al-Ansari, a member of the Haj and Umrah Committee at the Madinah Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

"This figure is confined to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah and could be increased through good management," said Al-Ansari.

He added that the income generated in Makkah is much more than what is generated in Madinah because of Makkah's proximity to Jeddah's King Abdul Aziz International Airport.

"If the airport in Madinah were able to function at full capacity and receive more international flights, the figures for the two cities could be closer," he said.

International tourist and Umrah companies are dominating the market and controlling prices, according to Al-Ansari. "Local Umrah companies are just a bridge for the international ones," he said.

He also said that there are about 40 local Umrah companies that do not operate in a unified manner. "If these companies were united in their decisions and stances, they would benefit the country economically," he said.

Unity would lead to the annual income from Haj and Umrah reaching over SR60 billion and there could be a reduction in the Kingdom's unemployment rate.

The annual occupancy rate of hotels in Madinah is about 65 percent. "During the first three months of the current Umrah season this rate came down to between 30 and 40 percent," he said.

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