The Elaf Group of Companies, a pioneer of travel, tourism and hotel services in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), expects a significant increase in the number of Hajj and Umrah pilgrims this year. The projection is based on Elaf’s assessment of the local tourism market and the significant activity it has been observing in its services portfolio. The Group is enhancing its services and facilities offered to its associate travel agencies in order to fully meet the needs of pilgrims.

Pilgrims from Egypt and Morocco account for the largest surge in the number of travellers coming for Hajj and Umrah in Mecca. Other countries that have been boosting the KSA’s tourism for religious goals are Algeria, Libya, Nigeria, Sudan, Turkey, Indonesia, Tajikistan, and South Africa.

Ziyad Ahmed Bin Mahfouz, CEO of Elaf Group, said: “We have positive expectations for this year as we have engaged in new contracts that will improve the delivery of our services and offerings to our clients and associate travel agencies. We anticipate a 25 per cent rise in the number of Hajj and Umrah pilgrims, with visitors from Egypt and Morocco predicted to account for the largest increases. Given these positive developments we expect our profits for 2010 to surpass last year’s figures.”

“We are committed to exerting extra effort to ensure that our services adhere to international quality standards and meet the expectations of Hajj and Umrah pilgrims looking for a unique experience. Tourism for religious goals has become a vital sector for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and we are keen to play a key role in its further development,” he added.

The Elaf Group of Companies provides various services for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims, from the moment they arrive at the airport until their departure from the Kingdom. The Group oversees activities ranging from the issuance of visas to the provision of transport to ensure that all the needs of religious travellers are met and that they have a comfortable stay in Saudi Arabia.