Information for Travellers During COVID-19

Makkah Witnesses A Spike In Hajj 2022 Pilgrims, Ending The Pandemic Decline


As thousands of worshipers arrived in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, earlier to attend the Hajj 2022, the area’s business owners are expecting a rapid recovery after two years.

During the Hajj season this year, approximately one million individuals have been given the entry to Masjid Al Haram, including 850,000 foreigners. As Makkah got ready to welcome the largest Hajj trip since the Covid-19 pandemic, business owners have also prepared themselves to benefit from this year’s pilgrimage in full capacity.

Makkah’s business owners are content

In the holiest city in Islam, Abdullah Mekhlafi, a prayer mat seller, thanked God for the market’s return. He blamed the pandemic for business owners’ losses during the past two years. But things are different this year, maybe even better than before. Additionally, a lot of business owners claimed that their losses might be made up this year. Only about 2.5 million people made the entire yearly pilgrimage in 2019.

After the pandemic took over the next year, foreigners were prohibited from attending Hajj, and the total number of pilgrims was limited to 10,000 to prevent the Hajj from becoming a virus super-spreader on a global scale. In 2021, the number of fully immunized Saudi citizens and residents increased to 60,000.

Hajj 2022 regains its former glory

The Hajj, which costs at least $5,000 per person, and Umrah pilgrimages, which take place at different times in a year, are often a significant source of money for Saudi Arabia, notably its tourist industry. On a regular basis, they produce around $12 billion each year, keeping Makkah’s economy humming.

Recently, the city has seen a development boom that has brought new shopping malls, residential structures, and opulent lodgings to the area — some of which provide breathtaking views of the Holy Kaaba. However, throughout the pandemic, these projects struggled to find buyers, so their owners were encouraged by the sights in Makkah on days before the Hajj 2022 officially started.

White-robed devotees have been pouring into souvenir and barber shops in the two million-person city. A far cry from a year before, when the area seemed nearly desolate, the main shopping center next to the Grand Mosque, where many lodgings are located, was bustling with pilgrims once again.

Monumental occasions

The changes in Makkah reflect Saudi Arabia’s most recent financial successes. Due to a fall in global demand, the dominion saw a sharp drop in oil prices during the pandemic. This led to the implementation of austerity measures such as doubling the value-added tax and reductions in civil worker allowances. Things seem to have changed, particularly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. Early in May, Saudi Arabia said that its economy had grown at its fastest rate in ten years, with the first quarter’s growth over the same period in 2021 increasing by 9.6%.

According to the International Monetary Fund’s report released in April 2022, Saudi Arabia’s GDP will increase by 7.6% in 2022. As a key component of the Vision 2030 reform plan promoted by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the largest oil exporter in the world, Saudi Arabia is working to diversify its banking system. The strategy includes a significant amount of tourism, making a successful hajj even more crucial. According to Ahmed Al-Khateeb, the tourism minister, Saudi Arabia’s current goal is to treble its international travel this year as pandemic restrictions loosen.

Thirty million of the hundred million domestic and international tourists projected for 2030 are expected to travel mostly to Makkah and Madinah on spiritual pilgrimages, anticipating huge gains for business owners in Makkah.

Suggested Read: Hajj – The Primary Muslim Pilgrimage To Mecca: Rules, Rituals And More

Pratyush Srivastava

I think, every human is a beautifully concealed epoch in the making with God to unravel it at the perfect time. Hence, synergizing with distinctive individuals in search of an interesting story is my favorite work as a writer and creator.

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