Saudi Deputy Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Abdulfattah al-Mashat predicted that this year’s Hajj will attract the same number of pilgrims as four years ago.
In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, he said over 2.4 million pilgrims performed the Hajj four years ago.
Breaking down the figure, he revealed that 634,000 of them were pilgrims from inside Saudi Arabia, including 211,000 Saudis and 423,000 residents.
Asian pilgrims made up the majority with 1.1 worshippers. From Europe, North and South America and Australia, the figure stood at 92,000 pilgrims, while over 414,000 came from Arab countries.
Given that there is a limit to how many people can perform the holy journey, the Hajj and Umrah Ministry has given would-be pilgrims months to apply, Mashat.
Saudi authorities have not yet closed the window for Hajj applications, he added.
He clarified that Saturday marked the end for submissions for first-time pilgrims, while another window has been opened for pilgrims who had previously performed the Hajj five years ago.
The opportunity was not available before for people who had performed the Hajj over six years ago, he added. Most of them are now allowed to apply.
The registration period was good, he went on to say.
Applicants can submit their information through the Nusuk Hajj government platform.
The platform reflects Saudi efforts to facilitate procedures for the arrival of pilgrims in 2023 and improve the quality of services provided to them to enrich their religious and cultural journey in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
The Hajj and Umrah Ministry has lowered the cost of full insurance to the Umrah pilgrims from 235 to 87 riyals this year.
Pilgrims from Europe, the United States, Australia and over 58 countries can register and make reservations and payments online. A number of services are available to them on the platform, from accommodation, flights, tour guides and transportation.