We noticed you're blocking ads.

Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker.

Questions about why you are seeing this? Contact us

Font Size

- Aa +

Sat 22 Feb 2014 10:39 AM

Font Size

- Aa +

Makkah pilgrims rise 14% during Umrah season

Saudi Arabia's Haj Ministry says number of pilgrims to Islam’s holiest city has soared compared to last season

Makkah pilgrims rise 14% during Umrah season
Grand Mosque, Makkah, Saudi Arabia

The number of Muslims travelling to the holy city of Madinah in Saudi Arabia has soared 14 percent this Umrah season, according to the Ministry of Haj.

The significant growth comes despite the kingdom cutting religious visa quotas during the $21.3bn redevelopment and expansion of the Grand Mosque.

Ministry spokesperson Ali Al Ghamdi said about 2m pilgrims already had visited Madinah during the current Umrah season, which started on December 9, Arab News reported. That was 14 percent more than last year.

The ministry had announced in November it expected 6m Umrah pilgrims this year, compared to 5m the year before.

Pakistanis so far have made up the largest proportion, followed by Indonesians, Iranians and Indians.

Al Ghamdi said authorities were carrying out inspections to ensure pilgrims’ housing met health and safety standards and to monitor visa fraud or scams.

About 152 violations of safety regulations already had been detected in the city.

Umrah is a pilgrimage to the holy city of Madinah performed by Muslims.

Every Muslim is expected to perform the Haj pilgrimage each year.

Saudi Arabia is undertaking the largest ever expansion and upgrade of the Grand Mosque, Islam’s holiest site, to increase its capacity to 1.5m pilgrims.

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

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.
Real news, real analysis and real insight have real value – especially at a time like this. Unlimited access ArabianBusiness.com can be unlocked for as little as $4.75 per month. Click here for more details.