Saudi Arabia announced on Sunday that it would continue to impose a 20-percent cut in foreign pilgrims and a 50-percent reduction in domestic pilgrims during the upcoming Haj season.
“The government will continue to request foreign countries to slash the quota of their Haj pilgrims by 20 percent due to ongoing expansion works in Makkah and the holy sites,” said Haj Minister Bandar Hajjar.
Speaking to the Turkish Haj mission, he said the measure was taken upon directives issued by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to ensure the safety and security of pilgrims.
Hajjar said Saudi Arabia would be able to host more pilgrims once the expansion works for the Grand Mosque and “mataf” are completed.
Saad Al-Qurashi, chairman of the National Committee for Haj and Umrah at the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the early announcement of the government’s decision to reduce the number of Haj pilgrims would help Haj service companies and hotels avoid losses.
“We understand that this reduction will continue for one more year,” he told Arab News.
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