By Staff writer
6.75m visas issued for Umrah pilgrims this year, says Saudi ministry
Occupancy levels in hotels across Makkah and Madinah rose sharply, helped by a six percent increase in Umrah pilgrims in 2017, according to Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Haj and Umrah.
In a statement published by state news agency SPA, Mohammed Al Klaiby, undersecretary at the ministry, said occupancy levels rose by 113 percent and 71.2 percent, respectively, at five- and four-star hotels in the two cities.
Yousef Wahbah, MENA head of transaction real estate at EY, said this week, that the hospitality markets in Makkah and Madinah experienced positive gains in RevPAR when compared to May 2016.
Average daily room rates rose to $180 in Madinah, while average rates doubled to $275 in Makkah, the consultancy added.
The Saudi ministry confirmed it issued 6.75 million visas for Umrah pilgrims this year compared to 6.39 million visas issued last year, with Minister of Haj and Umrah Mohammed Saleh Banten emphasising the growth was part of one of the Saudi Vision 2030 objective.
While economic and security conditions led to a decline in Umrah performers from countries such as Egypt, Turkey and Jordan, the United States, Germany and Norway registered a rise in pilgrims, the ministry said.
Pakistanis topped the list of Umrah pilgrims with a total of 1,446,284, up 45 percent from the previous year. Indonesians came second with 875,958 pilgrims, a 25 increase from last year, followed by Indians with 524,604 pilgrims.
A total of 264,878 Umrah visas were issued to Iraqis, an increase of 58 percent compared to last year, the ministry added.For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.