RIYADH: Economists in Saudi Arabia have estimated the Kingdom’s revenues from Haj and Umrah services in 2012 at more than SR 62 billion ($ 16.5 billion), 10 percent up from 2011 figures.
They also said that Haj revenue accounted for three percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), the Saudi daily (Arab News) reported Saturday.
Fahd Al-Andeejani, professor of economics, said there are good prospects for the development of national industries. "We need more specialized markets to meet the needs of pilgrims who come for Haj and Umrah," he added.
The professor said there are good prospects to establish Asian, European and American restaurants in Makkah and Madinah while highlighting the growing purchasing power of Saudis as a result of increase in salaries and oil prices.
Al-Andeejani estimated the annual expenditure of an Umrah pilgrim at $ 10,000. More than seven million pilgrims come to the Kingdom for Haj and Umrah and the money they spend could boost the Kingdom’s economy.
He called for providing world-class services to Haj and Umrah pilgrims. A lot of investments are required for this purpose. He estimated the Kingdom’s total revenue from Haj and Umrah at more than SR 62 billion. (QNA)