Saudi Arabia prepares to welcome 2 million pilgrims for Haj and Umrah

This comes weeks after the kingdom lifted restrictions on numbers, as well as an age limit, on visitors for the first time in three years



By Web Desk

Published: Tue 24 Jan 2023, 8:58 PM

In a joint press conference held by Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah, as well as Algerian Minister of Religious Affairs and Endowments, Dr. Youssef Belmahdi, Dr. Al-Rabiah revealed that Saudi Arabia is ready to receive two million pilgrims, including 41,300 Algerian pilgrims, during the Hajj season this year.

According to the Saudi Press Agency, Al-Rabiah also noted the use of development projects and infrastructure in the kingdom to provide quality services at the holy sites, which are considered the largest in the world at a cost of more than SR200 billion.

These include the Haramain Express Train, which connects Makkah and Madinah in a two-hour journey.

Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia announced that it will no longer impose limits on the number of pilgrims for this year's Haj, after three years of restrictions to curb the Covid-19 pandemic.

The pilgrimage – one of the five pillars of Islam, and which all able-bodied Muslims with the means are required to perform at least once – is scheduled for June.

In 2019, about 2.5 million people took part in the rituals. For the next two years, numbers were drastically curtailed due to the pandemic.

In 2022, nearly 900,000 pilgrims, including some 780,000 from abroad, were welcomed to Makkah and Madinah.

In October last year, Al-Rabiah had also announced that the Umrah visa has been extended from one month to three months.

The minister added that this will be applicable to Umrah performers of all nationalities.

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