The number of pilgrims performing Umrah in the holy city of Makkah has so far exceeded 6.1 million, up 7 percent compared to the previous year, according to the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.
The number of issued visas is 6,730,109, up 6 percent from last year’s 6,314,448, the ministry said in a new report.
The current 2018-2019 season, which began earlier than usual in mid-September, is expected to see an increase in the number of Muslims performing Umrah, the minor pilgrimage undertaken by Muslims outside of the major Hajj pilgrimage.
The 2017-2018 Umrah season started in late October and ended in early July and drew more than seven million pilgrims, according to the ministry.
The 2018 Hajj season from August 19-24 saw more than 2.37 million pilgrims travel to Makkah, including more than 1.75 million from outside the kingdom.
Pilgrims who have left the kingdom after performing Umrah total 5,589,537 pilgrims while 546,602 remain in Saudi Arabia, staying on average in Makkah for 13 days and in Madinah for 8 days.
The ministry said 1,371,544 pilgrims are Pakistanis, 894,571 Indonesians, 595,429 Indians, 422,365 Egyptians, while 292,498 pilgrims come from Turkey, 274,109 from Yemen, 266,333 are Algerians, 262,109 Malaysians, 231,342 Iraqis, and 169,529 pilgrims are Jordanians. The top five languages used in Umrah are Urdu, Malay, Hindi, Arabic, and Turkish.
On Wednesday, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah launched a new interactive website to provide easy access to more than 30 of its services to pilgrims in Arabic, English and French and with more languages to be added in the future.For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.