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Huge $ losses to Saudi Arabia's Haj and Umrah businesses

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  • Huge $ losses to Saudi Arabia's Haj and Umrah businesses

    Dubai, Oct 17 (PTI) The loss of business for Saudi Arabia's Haj and Umrah industry due to swine flu could be more than 3 billion Saudi riyals (USD 799) this year, the highest compared to the last 50 years

    The Tourism Committee of the Madinah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) fears the negative trend is likely to continue for the next three years at least.
    "The hospitality sector will be most affected," Abdul Ghani Al-Ansari, a member of the tourism committee at the MCCI, told Arab News. He said half of the hotels were saying that prospects of an upswing this year was bleak as bookings were likely to fall considerably.

    "A number of Haj delegations and companies did not pay the last two instalments for their bookings so far.

  • #2
    Re: Huge $ losses to Saudi Arabia's Haj and Umrah businesses

    KUWAIT: The fear of swine flu is now affecting shops that sell Hajj supplies which used to enjoy a brisk season a month ahead of the Hajj period.
    Many citizens and expats decided against Hajj this season due to fear of swine flu, and many Hajj missions opted out of the season this year altogether, which again hit the supplies' shops even more strongly.

    Although health measures were taken by the Saudi health authorities, the number of those going on Omrah (lesser pilgrimage) also declined so far into the year.
    One supplier, Abdul-Majid Ali, said that sales increase during this season as the shops provide Muslims with the Ehram (white garment worn by male pilgrims), green bags, shoes, umbrellas, prayer carpets, mattresses, as well as religious media. This year, there is a great loss of customers that is bringing the shops down.

    Ali hoped for the fear to vanish soon, and that something would change people's minds to revive the season. Shop owners and staff are even more concerned over lack of vaccines than other members of the public, as this directly affects their livelihood.

    The seller compared this season's sales with the norm and said one Ehram or maybe two is the daily sale nowadays, as opposed to as much as seven in the past, and the same goes for other supplies.

    He added that the sales are hit in both directions, as both individuals and Hajj missions cut down sales or canceled them altogether. This is to top the loss resulting from popularity of cheaper lower-quality materials and supplies that also affects the market, he noted. --- KUNA