More than 4.6m Umrah visas issued in 5 months
JEDDAH — As many as 4.650 million Umrah visas were issued by the end of the fifth month of the Umrah season which began on Nov. 13 and will continue until late July, Al-Eqtisadiah business daily reported on Tuesday quoting a senior member of the National Haj and Umrah Committee.
“So far 4.1 million Umrah pilgrims have arrived in the Kingdom,” deputy chairman of the committee Abdullah Al-Qadi said.
He noted that during the past two months, the number of Umrah pilgrims from certain countries has gone up raising the number of pilgrims by about two percent over their number at the same time last year.
Qadi attributed the increase in the Umrah pilgrims during the past two months to good marketing and good cooperation between the Haj Ministry and Umrah companies.
He expected the number of pilgrims to further increase during the three remaining months of the season and said Egypt is leading the countries in the number of the Umrah pilgrims followed by Pakistan and Indonesia.
Waleed Abu Sabaah, an expert in the Umrah sector, said that there has been a noticeable drop in the number of Umrah pilgrims from some countries especially Turkey.
He referred to reports that the Haj Ministry might limit the number of pilgrims for each Umrah company and said that this would have an adverse effect on the success of the season.
According to reports, the ministry was planning not to have more than 500,000 Umrah pilgrims staying in the Kingdom at one time.
“This measure will hurt the market badly if it is applied,” he warned. Abu Sabaah said the companies are waiting for the coming three months to make some financial gains that will reduce their losses, but if the ministry is adamant on its plan of specifying certain number of pilgrims for each Umrah company.