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Haj, Umrah generate SR30bn annually

Published: Jun 29, 2010 23:04 Updated: Jun 29, 2010 23:04 

MADINAH: The Kingdom 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 

Al-Ansari added that international tourist and Umrah companies are dominating 
the market and controlling prices. "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.

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

Al-Ansari said 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.

According to him, many hotels around the central area in Madinah close to the 
Prophet's Mosque are unsuitable for accommodation. "The number of classified 
hotels was less than 1 percent. Most of the hotels are not properly furnished. 
They lack Internet services and have no business centers. Their level of 
cleanliness is also very bad," he said.

Al-Ansari said about 80 percent of hotels in Madinah are not properly managed. 
He, however, expected the rate of occupancy to gradually increase reaching 100 
percent during the last days of Ramadan.

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