LAHORE: The number of foreign pilgrims arriving for Hajj in Saudi Arabia during the last 92 years has increased phenomenally by approximately 2, 824 per cent, up from just 58,584 in 1920 to 1,712,962 (1.713 million) in 2012, statistics collected from the relevant Saudi departments, including the websites of the Royal Saudi Embassy in Washington DC and Islamabad, reveal.
A total of 1,712,962 (1.713 million) pilgrims had arrived in Saudi Arabia to perform the 2012 Hajj pilgrimage by October 21 this year, says the website of the Royal Saudi Embassy in Washington DC.
Updated on October 22, the website had quoted the Saudi Director General of the Passports Department, General Salem Al-Bilaihed, as revealing in Jeddah that 1,584,417 (1.584 million) pilgrims have arrived in Saudi Arabia by air this year; 110,616 have arrived by land and 17,929 had reached the oil-rich kingdom by sea to perform one of the largest pilgrimages in the world and the fifth pillar of Islam. The total number of people performing this year’s Hajj on Thursday (today) would, of course, be nearly three million as locals will also join the foreigners at Mecca.
In 2011, according to the Saudi Central Department of Statistics and Information, the total number of people who performed Hajj was 2,927,717 (2.93 million), of which 1,828,195 pilgrims (1.828 million) had arrived from outside the Kingdom.
Not fewer than 1,099,522 pilgrims for the 2011 Hajj had come from within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, having a population of around 27 million, including nine million expatriates.
Saudi Arabia was host to 57,255 Hajj pilgrims in 1921, 56,319 in 1922, 1,080,465 (1.080 million) in 1996, 1,168,591 (1.169 million) in 1997, 1,132,344 (1.132 million) in 1998, 1,363,992 (1.364 million) in 2001, 1,534,759 (1.535 million) in 2005, 1,654,407 (1.654 million) in 2006, 1,707,814 (1.708 million) in 2007, 1,729,841 (1.730 million) in 2008, 1,613,000 (1.613 million) in 2009, 1,799,601 (around 1.8 million) in 2010 and 1,828,195 (1.828 million) last year in 2011. Situated at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa, Saudi Arabia is bordered on the north by Jordan, Iraq and Kuwait, on the south, by Yemen and Oman and on the east by United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain. Founded by Abdul-Aziz bin Saud in 1932, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has an area of approximately 2,250,000 square kms (870,000 sq miles), has the world’s second largest oil reserves accounting for over 70 per cent of country’s revenues and more than 95 per cent of exports and owns the world’s sixth largest natural gas reserves. According to International Monetary Fund report of April 2012, the country has a nominal GDP of $651.652 billion and a per capita GDP of $22,635.