The shops in Ibrahim Al-Khalil Street in Makkah Al-Mukarramah are teeming with shoppers of all races and colors, with the return of pilgrims in large numbers to perform the rituals, after the Covid-19 pandemic forced the Saudi authorities to reduce the number of pilgrims significantly during the past two years, as a thousand people from inside the Kingdom were able to perform only. Hajj rituals in 2020, before the number increases in the following year to 60,000.

With the Saudi authorities raising the number of pilgrims this year to one million pilgrims, including 150,000 from inside the kingdom, it has become common to see sellers calling for their goods, while men and women stand turning over in rosaries, prayer mats, clothes and perfumes to buy gifts for their loved ones or carry souvenirs from the Holy Land.

"Life is back to us"

And about her trip to Mecca to perform the Hajj for the first time, and her evaluation of the prices of the products there, Egyptian Amani Fawzy says, "The prices are reasonable. I was able to buy Musk Al Madinah Al Munawwarah and Jalalib for my sister and daughters."

As for Zikra Fakihi, 24, a Saudi woman who works as a saleswoman in a shop on Ibrahim Al-Khalil Street, she expressed her happiness at the return of pilgrims to the Mecca markets, and the renewal of activity there. Corona. We were really in a crisis."

Zikra Fakihi sells rosaries, prayer rugs, prayer sheets, and men's clothing, and does not fail to point out that "prices are fixed, as they were, to attract customers."

But some do not agree with it in the stability of prices and their non-change, in light of the economic conditions that the world suffers from due to the war in Ukraine and before the Covid-19 pandemic, including the Syrian Hajj Adnan Hassan (30 years old), who works as a trader and resides in Jordan, as he complains about the high prices Products compared to Jordan, as he noted, "the prices here are more high and the differences are large, it seems that this is a global phenomenon, and it is not limited to the Kingdom."

Hassan added, "Thank God, we have overcome a global pandemic and closures that included all people. The most important thing is that I feel happy when I see the Hajj season return to its normal state."

Egyptian needy Heba Bashir, who visited the Kingdom before that in 2014 to perform Umrah, agrees with the complaint of the Syrian pilgrim, and believes that the depreciation of the Egyptian pound against the Saudi riyal "made many people unable to even buy basic products such as meals and refreshments."

The economic system in Makkah depends throughout the year on the Hajj and Umrah seasons (French)

Hajj and Umrah Economy

The economic system in Makkah throughout the year is highly dependent on the Hajj and Umrah seasons, and religious tourism is an important source of the Kingdom's revenues, and provides many job opportunities in the sectors of trade, hotels, restaurants, and transportation.

According to official data, the Hajj and Umrah rituals used to generate about $12 billion annually in the Kingdom.

Within the framework of Saudi economic reform plans, the Kingdom had hoped to increase the number of pilgrims to 5 million and Umrah pilgrims to 15 million by 2020, while the target in 2030 is to increase the number of Umrah pilgrims to 30 million and earn 50 billion riyals (about $13 billion) from the Hajj by that year.

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