17-Nov-2010 11:23 AM

Haj becomes big business for Saudi Arabia

Middle East businesses are reportedly being presented many commercial opportunities due to Haj, as Saudi Arabia invests in new rail lines and airport expansions to meet the rising number of pilgrims (Bloomberg, 17-Nov-2010). Haj has attracted 2.8 million Muslims to Mecca this year and the government stated it plans to develop religious tourism further as part of its strategy to diversify export earnings away from oil. The government has planned a USD5.3 billion rail line linking Mecca and Medina with Jeddah and increasing annual passenger capacity at King Abdulaziz International Airport to 30 million by 2012.

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