Increase in number of Umrah pilgrims for 2017
The Ministry or Hajj and Umrah have reported that about 6.75 million visas have been issued for Muslims to perform the minor pilgrimage this year (Umrah) according to statistics released by Saudi Gazette. This is an increase of almost 6% compared to last year when 6.39 million umrah visas were issued.
This has seen a very high increase in the occupancy rates in hotels in Makkah and Madinah. Mohammed Al-Klaiby, undersecretary at the Ministry of Haj and Umrah, said there was a 113 percent increase in occupancy at five-star hotels while the occupancy rate in four-star hotels rose by 71.2 percent.
There was an increase in the number of pilgrims performing Umrah from the United States, Germany, Norway and other countries, whilst Egypt, Turkey and Jordan saw a drop in their number of pilgrims.
Pilgrims from Pakistan topped the list of Umrah pilgrims this year with a total of 1,446,284, which is up 45 percent compared to the previous year. Indonesians came second with 875,958 pilgrims, which is a 25 increase from last year. Indians came next with 524,604 pilgrims while 80,977 pilgrims came from Bangladesh. Whilst a total of 264,878 Umrah visas were issued to Iraqis, an increase of 58 percent compared to last year. — SG/SPA
Minister of Haj and Umrah Mohammed Saleh Banten said this ongoing increase in the number of pilgrims and visitors was in line with the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030.