By Sara Anabtawi
Around 1m domestic pilgrims to perform Islamic pilgrimage this year, minister says
Saudi Arabia is expecting more than 1.8m foreign pilgrims and around 1m domestic pilgrims to perform Hajj this year, Hajj Minister Bandar Hajjar told Saudi Press Agency.
Last year, approximately 2.5m Muslims are estimated to have travelled to Makkah to undertake the Islamic pilgrimage.
In August, authorities announced plans to invest SAR62bn (US$16.5bn) in improving transport infrastructure in the holy city, including the building of a bus network and metro system.
Earlier in the year, Saudi ordered an SAR80bn expansion of the Masjid Al Haram, or Grand Mosque, that will eventually allow up to 1.5m pilgrims into the site.
A number of prominent hotel chains, including Hilton Worldwide, Marriott International and Hyatt International have also said they will open new properties in Makkah in order to capitalise on the growing requirement for accommodation during the Hajj season.