By Staff writer
Number of Umrah pilgrims arriving in Makkah has declined 10% so far this season, according to city official
The number of pilgrims performing Umrah this season is down 10 percent compared to the previous comparable period, according to Abdullah Ghadi, deputy head of the National Committee for Haj and Umrah at the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
About 1.8 million Umrah pilgrims have arrived in Makkah, Islam’s holiest city, since the Umrah season started on November 13, Saudi Gazette reported.
During the same period last year, 2 million pilgrims had arrived.
The Ministry of Haj had planned for 1.2 million pilgrims each month, but the average has been 800,000, the English daily said.
Countries including Indonesia, Turkey, Jordan, Morocco, Iraq, Libya and Iran had seen fewer pilgrims participate in Umrah this season, Ghadi said. Only Egypt and Pakistan witnessed a 20 percent increase in the number of their pilgrims.
Ghadi said economic and political issues had caused the declines.
The average person cannot afford to go to Mecca due to the prices. It is not due to the political situation but due to the prices from air-travel, hotel, food and to some extent if people want to shop. Some of the prices that you see from travel agents, especially in the UK are extortionate.
This translates into fewer overstayers.