75% increase in number of Egyptians performing Umrah
Pilgrims - YOUM7
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CAIRO: A total of 274,000 Egyptian performed the Umrah, the minor Islamic pilgrimage, in Mecca since the beginning of the season with a 75 percent increase from the same time last year, Youm7 reported Thursday.

The companies that organized the trips amounted to 512 this year; 271,446 pilgrims have flown to Mecca while 3,379 have traveled by land thus far.

The increased number of Egyptian pilgrims comes despite the raised cost of the Umrah; the price increased by 15-20 percent, head of the religious tourism department at the Chamber of Tourism Companies Basil el-Sisi told Youm7 in October.

The rise is attributed to the rise of the dollar, as well as the high cost of living in Saudi Arabia, he added.

Hajj, the major Islamic pilgrimage is obligatory for every Muslim once in a lifetime if they are financially and physically capable; Umrah is elective.

A lot of Muslims save for many years to perform hajj or Umrah.

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.

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