This chapter includes the following articles.
Due to the importance of Makkah and Medina in the Muslim world, and the millions of pilgrims they attract, the two holy cities form a major component of Saudi Arabia’s non-oil economy. The pilgrimages of Hajj and Umrah are performed each year, with worshippers’ fees, food, transport and accommodation totalling some $12bn in revenues. Makkah is home to the Masjid Al Haram, known as the Grand Mosque, which houses the Kaaba – Islam’s holiest site – and is also the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad. Medina, meanwhile, is home to the Masjid an-Nabawi, or the Prophet’s Mosque, another important place of pilgrimage for worshippers during the Hajj and Umrah. With religious tourism such a vital source of non-oil revenue, much of the development in and around Makkah and Medina over the coming years is directly linked to the goals laid out in Vision 2030, which include plans to significantly boost pilgrim numbers as well as increase the country’s appeal as a wider tourist destination.
This chapter contains an interview with Osama Al Bar, Mayor of Makkah.