According to the Saudi Gazette, Saudi Arabia has decided to decrease its dependence on oil revenues by broadening the Hajj pilgrimage services. The Hajj pilgrimage is the second most important and main industry of the country in which about two million foreign pilgrims would visit the city of Mecca every year.
Abdul Ghani Al-Ansari, the National Tourism Committee member, has declared that the country need to restructure this part to use it as a major help to the national economy. The economists have mentioned that Hajj and Umrah would have a significant effect on the ability to make more job opportunities for young people of the Saudi Arabia.
The Kingdom had faced a budget deficit in recent years due to the fall in the oil prices. Although Saudi oil prices have been rising over the past few months, it cannot save the country’s economy in the long run.
In this regard, Muhsin Al-Sharif, a member of the Committee of Real Estate and Investment, has said that Hajj revenues would compensate the huge deficits and improve the national economy, so there should be a plan for controlling financial resources. He added that the Hajj pilgrimage could create a market for seasonal and sustainable jobs.
However, Dr. Irfan al-Alawi, the Executive Director of the Islamic Heritage Research Foundation, has stated that the Hajj should have a controlled price which would be decided by the Muslim leaders of the World. He added that the Saudi government has used the Hajj and Umrah to make money by increasing the price of houses during Hajj that could be expensive for pilgrims.