CAIRO: The cost of Umrah (pilgrimages to Mecca) will increase between 15 and 20 percent in this year, Basil el-Sisi, the head of religious tourism at the Chamber of Tourism Companies, told Youm7.
The rise is attributed to the rise of the dollar, as well as the high costs of living in Saudi Arabia, he added.
Although the hajj pilgrimage is considered a duty for every Muslim, the Umrah pilgrimage is elective,.
In September, around 70,000 Egyptian pilgrims are traveling to Mecca to perform the hajj; 19,000 were lot chosen, a government procedure that offers the cheapest means to go for pilgrimage, 10,000 were supported by the Ministry of Social Solidarity and 40,000 travelled via tourism companies.
The number of Egyptian pilgrims decreased this year, as requested by the Saudi government, citing development projects carried out in Mecca. The tents of Egyptian pilgrims, who will travel though the government rather than privately-owned companies, are called “European tents” by the Saudi authorities.