Hajj 2019: More than 1.8 million international pilgrims arrived in Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage

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Saudi Arabia has so far welcomed more than 1.8 million pilgrims who have flocked to the country in preparation for the annual Islamic Hajj pilgrimage which begins later this week, according to the latest statistics issued by the Saudi General Directorate of Passports.

In a news conference in the port city of Jeddah, Major General Sulaiman Al Yahya, the Director-General of Passports, said the total number of Hajj pilgrims who had arrived from abroad via air, land and seaports until August 7 was 1,838,339 pilgrims. The majority of the pilgrims arrived by plane.

Hajj, the largest annual gathering of people from all around the world, began this year August 9 and lasted until August 14. In total, more than two million people, including Saudis and expatriate residents of the Kingdom, visited Saudi Arabia’s holy cities of Makkah and Madinah for the Hajj this year.

In 2018, Saudi authorities have officially said that the total number of international and domestic pilgrims was 2.37 million, more than 1.75 million of them from abroad. The 2018 tally topped the 2017 tally of more than 2.35 million international and domestic pilgrims.

Of the international pilgrims this year, 969,726, or just over 53%, are men and 868,613, or nearly 47%, are women, noted Major General Sulaiman Al Yahya.

Major General Al Yahya urged all international pilgrims to abide by the period specified for their departure after performing Hajj, which is determined by their respective visa guidelines. Breaching these guidelines subjects violators to a penalty.

The General Directorate of Passports “has provided during the arrival stage all the qualified cadres and advanced technological systems to guarantee the speed and accuracy of arrival procedures for each pilgrim in record time,” he said.