Saudi Arabia: Embracing all pilgrims


The movers and shakers of the KSA’s travel industry have witnessed a dramatic jump in travel bookings to Makkah and Madinah so far this year, and in light of the Holy Month, experts forecast further increases over the coming weeks.

So far, the number of Umrah visas issued by embassies within Saudi Arabia has hit 5.67 million, with over five million visitors having already entered the Kingdom.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah announced that the frequency of Umrah pilgrims this year could reach up to seven million, with more than 1.2 million coming from Egypt followed by more than 900,000 visas issued to pilgrims from Pakistan and around 655,000 visas issued to Indonesians.


The Ministry has already announced a five per cent increase in Umrah pilgrims so far this year and this figure is expected to jump by 30 per cent by 2020.

CEO, Elaf Group, Ziyad Bin Mahfouz remarked: “The travel and tourism sector is feeling the heat as the volume of Umrah pilgrims rushing to book visits to the Kingdom has continued to swell over the past months. The upcoming summer holidays which also coincide with the Holy Month of Ramadan have kept travel operators very busy at this time. We are anticipating even brisker business towards the end of the month.

“In line with our commitment to support the tourism sector – especially religious tourism – the Elaf Group has stepped up its efforts to ensure our staff is well-prepared to address the needs of the pilgrims and promptly provide them with the services and comfort they hope to experience at this time – enjoying a relaxing stay amidst the religious ambience in our hotels in Makkah and Madinah.

“Our Group has continuously been expanding its services and number of rooms to accommodate the needs of our customers who can avail of special packages and activities for the whole family as they seek a meaningful Umrah experience, especially during Ramadan,” Bin Mahfouz concluded.