ISLAMABAD: Haj revenues this year are projected to reach almost SR32 billion, a three-percent increase from the SR31 billion spent in 2013, according to a recent study conducted by the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI).
The study also forecast that around 1.4 million foreign pilgrims and 600,700 domestic pilgrims would perform Haj this year, Arab News Reported.
These figures indicate that 70 percent of Haj pilgrims come from abroad,contributing to a whopping 89 percent of revenues, or SR28 billion.
This year’s estimates are similar to last year’s figures based on the fact that government restrictions on the number of pilgrims remain in place due to ongoing expansion works at the Grand Mosque.
The number of pilgrims from foreign countries was cut by 20 percent, while the number of domestic pilgrims was scaled down by more than half to make way for the revamp.
Pilgrim spending was also estimated according to average expenditure in 2009. Foreign pilgrims had spent an average of just over SR17,000 each and domestic pilgrims around SR5,000 each that year.
The rise in price indices in subsequent years was also taken into account to come up with yearly averages.
A 2.7-percent inflation rate was registered during the first 10 months of this year, explaining the marginal increase.
The number of Haj pilgrims fell by 37 percent in 2013 compared with 2012, according to a study carried out by the Central Department of Statistics & Information.
The latest figures are a 21-percent decline from the 1.75 million foreigners that performed Haj in 2012 and a 57-percent decline from the 1.4 million locals who had traveled to Makkah for the pilgrimage that same year.
Naturally, pilgrims coming from economically advanced countries tend to spend more than people coming from poorer countries.
Male pilgrims, surprisingly, have been found to spend more than female pilgrims, according to the study.