A muslim pilgrim prays while others circle the Kaaba and pray at the Grand mosque ahead of annual Haj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia August 16, 2018.REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
CAIRO - 20 June 2019: Egypt ranked first in terms of the number of Umrah pilgrims (Muslim Minor pilgrimage) in the Arab world followed by Algeria, while it ranked fourth in the world after Pakistan, Indonesia and India.
The number of Egyptian pilgrims who performed Umrah in 2019 was about 538,940 from the beginning of the Umrah season until the third day of Eid al-Fitr.
Egyptian tourism companies exceeded the number set by the Ministry of Tourism by 500,000 visas.
This increase is due to Saudi Arabia's adoption of the e-Visa system, which grants companies the right to issue a visa once the Umrah fee is paid, without reference to the Ministry of Tourism or the Saudi Consulate in Cairo.
In May 2019, the Ministry of Tourism cancelled the additional Umrah fees estimated at SAR 2000 for those who performed Umrah within 3 years, informing all tourism companies of the decision.
The Egyptian ministry’s decision is based on the Administrative Court's rule to cancel additional Umrah fees for those who perform it for the second time in 3 years.
Umrah is the non-mandatory pilgrimage to Mecca, which may be performed at any time of the year.