Hajj, Umrah generate SR30bn annually
Madinah, June 30: The Kingdom annually earns over SR30 billion from Haj and Umrah, a figure that could be doubled if the two seasons were professionally managed, said Abdul Ghani Hammad Al-Ansari, a member of the Hajj and Umrah Committee at the Madinah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“This figure is confined to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah and could be increased through good management,” said Al-Ansari.
He added that the income generated in Makkah is much more than what is generated in Madinah because of Makkah’s proximity to Jeddah’s King Abdul Aziz International Airport.
“If the airport in Madinah were able to function at full capacity and receive more international flights, the figures for the two cities could be closer,” he said.
Al-Ansari added that international tourist and Umrah companies are dominating the market and controlling prices. “Local Umrah companies are just a bridge for the international ones,” he said.
He also said that there are about 40 local Umrah companies that do not operate in a unified manner. “If these companies were united in their decisions and stances, they would benefit the country economically,” he said.
He added that unity would lead to the annual income from Hajj and Umrah reaching over SR60 billion and that there could be a reduction in the Kingdom’s unemployment rate.
Al-Ansari said the annual occupancy rate of hotels in Madinah is about 65 percent. “During the first three months of the current Umrah season this rate came down to between 30 and 40 percent,” he said.
According to him, many hotels around the central area in Madinah close to the Prophet’s Mosque are unsuitable for accommodation. “The number of classified hotels was less than 1 percent. Most of the hotels are not properly furnished. They lack Internet services and have no business centers. Their level of cleanliness is also very bad,” he said.
Al-Ansari said about 80 percent of hotels in Madinah are not properly managed. He, however, expected the rate of occupancy to gradually increase reaching 100 percent during the last days of Ramadan.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 30 Jun 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 30 Jun 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 1 Jul 2010 00:00:00 IST
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