The Economics Of The Hajj

October 12, 2013 in Daily Bulletin

One of the five pillars of Islam is Hajj where a Muslim is expected to visit Mecca, if they are able to, at least once in their life, during the final month of the Islamic Calendar. The Economist looked at some of the economics behind it:

  • Mecca is located in Saudi Arabia and pilgrimages to the site bring in $16.5 billion – 3% of Saudi Arabia’s GDP.
  • With the rise of the Middle East trips to Mecca have become increasingly upscale. Luxury hotels have opened as well as souvenir shops who make so much money from the trips that they only bother to open during the Hajj.
  • Airlines and hotels jack up their prices during the season leading to fears that the poor are being priced out of the experience.
  • However since for many it is a once in a lifetime experience, Muslims save up for years and are willing to splurge on the trip.
  • Islamic religious tourism is so lucrative that Dubai is planning to build a Holy Koran theme park to draw some of the market within its own borders.

Read more about the Hajj, and other details about religious tourism – Islamic and otherwise – over here.

Source: The Economist