An Uncertain World Threatens Saudi Arabia’s Tourism Goals
MIN READJul 7, 2022 | 21:45 GMT
Muslim pilgrims walk at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca on July 6, 2022 during the annual hajj pilgrimage.
(AFP via Getty Images)
New COVID-19 variants and global economic uncertainty could force Saudi Arabia to recalibrate its tourism development strategy, potentially leaving ongoing projects and plans either abandoned or delayed. Saudi Arabia’s post-pandemic hajj season is underway, with a reported 1 million foreign and domestic pilgrims visiting Mecca for the pilgrimage ahead of Eid al-Adha, which begins July 8. These numbers are an improvement from 2020 and 2021, when only 1,000 and 60,000 pilgrims were allowed to visit Mecca for the annual pilgrimage, respectively. But 1 million is still a far cry from the 2.5 million hajj pilgrims that Saudi Arabia welcomed in 2019 -- due in part to continued COVID-19 restrictions, which include testing and vaccine requirements, capacity limits and age limits....