Saudi nets $16.5 bn from pilgrims: paper

November 08, 2012

Email

Muslim pilgrims attend Friday prayers at the Grand Mosque and its surrounding area during the annual haj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca October 19, 2012. – Reuters

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia raised $16.5 billion from Muslim pilgrimages this year to Mecca and Medina in the west of the kingdom, a Saudi newspaper reported on Thursday.

Al-Hayat, citing religious tourism sources, said a total of 12 million pilgrims visited Islam's holiest sites during the annual hajj which took place this year at the end of October or for the year-long umra, or minor pilgrimage.

The pilgrims - including 3.1 million who made the hajj, including 1.7 million from abroad, according to official figures - spent 62 billion riyals ($16.5 billion), a rise of 10 percent over 2011 because of increased costs, it said.