Saudi Arabia's High-Tech Hajj: Innovations and Economic Impact for 2024

News Bulletin Reports
2024-06-13 | 13:05
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Saudi Arabia's High-Tech Hajj: Innovations and Economic Impact for 2024
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3min
Saudi Arabia's High-Tech Hajj: Innovations and Economic Impact for 2024

A report by Lea Fayad, English adaptation by Nadine Sassine 

If you want to participate in this year's Hajj season, you will be able to arrive via a pilotless "flying taxi" from Jeddah Airport to your hotel, instead of using the Haramain high-speed train, for example. And if you are already there and have any questions or inquiries, the smart robots around the Grand Mosque are ready to help. Even AI systems are in place to guide the movement of pilgrims to avoid congestion and risks.

These are just a small glimpse of Saudi Arabia's preparedness and attention to the 2024 Hajj season, aimed at providing the best service and experience for its visitors. How could it not, given that it is the largest religious gathering in the world, with around two million people coming for Hajj from over 150 countries worldwide, up from 1.8 million last year (according to the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah), boosting various economic sectors in the country!

Performing Hajj, the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, is a significant financial commitment, with costs ranging between $2,000 and $7,000 per person this year. This substantial expense can be broken down into several key areas.

Accommodation represents the largest portion of Hajj costs, accounting for 40% of the total expenditure. With hotels near Mecca and Medina reaching 95% occupancy.

Transportation, particularly air travel, consumes another 31% of the overall cost. Airlines, both Saudi and international, have increased their flight schedules to accommodate the influx of pilgrims.

Pilgrims also spend about 14% of their budget on gifts and goods, boosting local markets and providing a vital source of revenue for vendors. 

Additionally, 10% of Hajj expenses go towards food and restaurant services.

The remaining 5% covers various costs that arise during the pilgrimage.

Beyond the individual costs, Hajj has a significant economic impact on Saudi Arabia. The pilgrimage season creates employment for over 230,000 people across sectors such as transportation, health services, and communications. The state also benefits from taxes and fees, including visa fees, adding to the overall revenue.

This year, the revenue generated from Hajj is estimated to be around $15 billion. However, Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 aims to increase this figure to $50 billion by enhancing the infrastructure around the Grand Mosque and Medina. The plan includes developing airports, roads, and other facilities to accommodate up to 30 million pilgrims in the future.

Despite the rising costs, Muslims around the world continue to prioritize fulfilling their religious duty of Hajj. It remains a fundamental pillar of Islam, underscoring the pilgrimage's enduring significance and the lengths to which believers will go to partake in this sacred journey.
 

News Bulletin Reports

Saudi Arabia

Hajj

High-Tech

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