Saudi Arabia restores limit on Egyptian pilgrims to Mecca to 2013 levels

Mahmoud Aziz , Thursday 2 Mar 2017

Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba at the Grand mosque in Mecca, during the annual haj pilgrimage, November 19, 2010 (Photo: Reuters)

Saudi Arabia has restored the limit on Egyptian pilgrims to Mecca to its 2013 levels, Egypt's Minister of Endowments Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa announced on Thursday.

The number of visas for those seeking to perform the pilgrimmage to Mecca - one of the five pillars of Islam - was cut by Riyadh by 20 percent in 2013 due to the expansion of Mecca's Grand Mosque.
Gomaa said that Egypt's quota for pilgrimage visas this year will be raised to 87,000, compared to 62,000 last year.
Egyptians comprise one of the top nationalities which seeks to perform the Hajj to Mecca.
The 2013 decision by Riyadh has negatively affected Egyptian tourism companies, which rely heavily on the Hajj season for revenue.
In 2011, Saudi Arabia began the largest expansion yet of Islam’s holiest site, the Grand Mosque in Mecca, to raise its capacity to two million pilgrims.
The project is due to be completed in 2020. 
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