By Soren Billing
New wave of religious tourism set to boost kingdom's revenues by $19bn by 2010.
The board of Elaf Group, a subsidiary of Saudi Economic and Development Company (SEDCO), has approved a plan that it says will boost Saudi tourism revenue to 73.3 billion riyals ($19 billion) by 2010.
“Elaf is gearing up for a new wave of religious tourism, with a large number of people from around the world expected to perform the Haj and Umrah rites,” group president Ziyad Ahmed Bin Mahfouz said.
“The results of our recent meeting will contribute significantly to further development of the Saudi Arabian tourism sector.”
One of the key goals of the plan is to increase the number of Hajj and Ummrah pilgrims within the next three years.
Elaf also wants to increase the number of Saudi nationals within the group.
“We plan to manage various new projects and expand the number of our external partners as well as boost the number of our external representatives and offices,” Bin Mahfouz said.
Around 1.7 million Haj pilgrims are estimated to have visited the kingdom this year.