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Wed 15 Aug 2018 12:15 PM

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Makkah travel bookings up 20 percent ahead of Hajj

Pakistan saw the greatest increase when compared to 2017, according to statistics from Travelport

Makkah travel bookings up 20 percent ahead of Hajj
Muslim pilgrims arrive at Jeddah airport on August 14 2018 prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Makkah, The hajj expected to draw more than two million pilgrims to Mecca this year represents a key rite of passage for Muslims and a massive logistical challenge for Saudi authorities with colossal crowds cramming into relatively small holy sites. Photo: AMER HILABI/AFP/Getty Images.

The number of flights arriving in Makkah ahead of this year’s Hajj season rose by 20 percent compared to last year, according to statistics released by travel commerce platform Travelport. 

The statistics stem from an analysis of travel bookings made through global distribution systems (reservation networks) as of July 31, arriving from July 19 – one month before Hajj – to August 18. 

According to the analysis, flights from Pakistan saw the greatest growth in bookings compared to 2017, with volume up 61 percent to 13,788. 

Pakistan was followed by the UK, which saw the volume of bookings rise 47 percent to 4,324, compared to 4,306 bookings from Bahrain (an 173 percent increase). 

India and the UAE rounded out the top five positions in the table, with Indian bookings rising 19 percent to 3,791 and the UAE’s rising 24 percent to 2,887.

Overall, flight bookings around Mecca through GDS were made from 148 countries around the world. 

“Every year, Hajj sees one of the great migrations of people on the planet,” said Travelport managing director Matthew Powell. “It is likely many of the rises in flight bookings we’ve seen through our analysis can, at least in prat, be attributed to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s government increasing the Hajj quotes for the countries in question.” 

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