Millions of Muslims from around the world are traveling to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, for the annual pilgrimage known as the hajj. The event also means a business boom for the holy city. CCTV America’s Adel El Mahrouky reports from Mecca.
Mecca businesses expect strong sales during hajjMillions of Muslims from around the world are traveling to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, for the annual pilgrimage known as the hajj. The event also means a business boom for the holy city. CCTV America's Adel El Mahrouky reports from Mecca.
Even for a kingdom enriched with oil, the hajj is a big earner for Saudi Arabia. The 10-day pilgrimage is expected to bring in about $14 billion.
“Sales are at their highest during the hajj. We make at least 40 percent more in the hajj season than in any other time of the year, in gold our main customers are Arabs and Indians,” a businessman said.
About two million people are expected in the city and many stay for up to a month. Vendors prepare long before the first pilgrims arrive. Taxis that would usually charge $3 are now charging at least $10.
As for hotels, even a small room can cost up to $25,000 for five nights. Many say this year is quieter than previous years. Renovations in Mecca have led to a 20 percent decline in visitors. Despite that, the greatest event in the Islamic calendar remains the biggest economic opportunity for local businesses.
CCTV America is joined by Kevin Wright, National Tour Association Director of Growth Markets, to talk about religious tourism.