ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has issued 2.182 million Umrah visas for pilgrims in this season until January 28, 2016.
According to the Ministry of Haj, 1.8 million pilgrims have arrived and 500,000 more people with visas are still to come, Arab News reported.
Incoming pilgrims include 455,000 Egyptians and 333,000 Pakistanis.
The Umrah traffic has been experiencing a slowdown; last year marked a decline by about 250,000 pilgrims compared to the previous year, said Marwan Shabaan, head of the Haj and Umrah Committee.
Shaaban believes that Umrah visitors will increase during the coming Ramadan, especially if the ministry raises the visitors’ ceiling as opposed to previous years when the cap was put at 500,000 in the holy month of fasting.
He hoped the ceiling will be raised to enable maximum number of pilgrims to travel during this Umrah season.