General Travel News

Saudi Hospitality Industry Prepares For Makkah Pilgrimage Drop

Saudi airlines and hotels are preparing for a steep fall in tourism revenues.  The number of pilgrims travelling to Makkah is expected to fall because of swine flu fears.     There will probably be 25% less travel on the kingdom’s airlines for the Umrah and Haj pilgrimage this year.  In order to reduce the spread of the H1N1 virus, health officials from the UAE and other Arab countries have decided to ban the Haj and Umrah pilgrimage for vulnerable groups of people.

Saudi Arabia is issuing Haj visas only to  pilgrims between the ages of 12 and 65, and its Health Ministry is advising people to delay their pilgrimages if they have any health problems.  Tunisia and Iran are not allowing pilgrims to travel to Makkah for Umrah.  Senior Vice President at Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels said the timing is terrible and “It’s a very interesting case of tourism crisis management for destination marketing authorities.”

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