Umrah firms to make $1.86bn this year
Umrah service companies are expected to earn a combined revenue of SR7 billion ($1.86 billion) this Hijrah year (which ends on March 3, 2003), according to a study prepared by the Haj Ministry.In light of the growing number of Umrah pilgrims, the ministry expects the revenues from Umrah service to cross SR18 billion within 10 years, the Arab News reported. The ministry has licensed 229 Saudi Umrah companies to provide various services to pilgrims from the time of their arrival until departure. These companies deal with 3,500 agents in foreign countries in addition to airlines, road transport and shipping companies, hotels and restaurants. The ministry estimated the revenue on the basis of average expenditure by an Umrah pilgrim, who stays for 11 days in the Kingdom. They include transport, accommodation and service charges. An Umrah pilgrim will spend a maximum of SR4,508, a minimum of SR2,567 and median of SR3,537, the study pointed out. The Umrah companies will make a maximum revenue of SR9.018 billion, a minimum of SR5.234 billion and a median of SR7.076 billion, said the study. The ministry issued 1.9 million Umrah visas during this Hijrah year until October 18.