Abu Dhabi: A little over a year after the COVID-19 pandemic and its adverse effects on the world’s economies, positive signs have appeared on the horizon for the recovery of the economies of Haj and Umrah in Mecca and Medina, with expectations of a higher number of people coming to perform Umrah than was recorded in the last season, experts said.
Ramadan, according to experts, will be a turning point with which expectations and the influx of ritual performers will rise to reach 40 per cent in the recovery phase.
April 3 coincides with the Saudi authorities’ imposition of curfew in Mecca and Medina last year, as a precautionary measure to stem outbreak of COVID-19.
The recovery phase
This stage is a transition, as described by Eng. Mohammad Burhan, a member of the Mecca Chamber of Commerce and head of the Business Intelligence Center, who said that it paves the ground for rebalancing and the beginning of recovery during Ramadan.
Burhan continued, according to the data, this stage will not witness a recovery and things will gradually improve until the Haj season, in which the economic sectors that have been drastically affected, including the hospitality sector, will begin to breathe.
The higher the number of vaccinated people, the higher the economic expectations in Mecca and Medina, according to Burhan, who pointed out the importance and nature of the precautionary measures that will be applied to those coming for Haj and Umrah in the next stage, and the countries that have succeeded in implementing the criteria with their citizens taking the vaccines.
Ramadan turning point
Ramadan will be a turning point in the economic life in Mecca and Medina, according to the member of the Mecca Chamber, who added he believed that if 50 per cent of the number of visitors to the Two Holy Mosques is reached, then we have overcome fear and life will start to return to normal.
He said that opening the doors of the Prophet’s Mosque for Tarawih prayers is an important factor in attracting visitors from outside the city, and that will revive the economic movement in general.
Dr. Hussein Al Zahrani, head of the Aviation and Support Services Committee in the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce, says that the indicators are very positive, and with all precautionary measures being taken, it is expected that the aviation sector in Saudi Arabia will recover within the next six months, especially with resuming international flights by mid-June, in addition to the signing of a major agreement between Saudi Airlines and banks to develop its fleet.