Pilgrims complain of unaffordable rents in Makkah

MAKKAH: A large number of Umrah pilgrims, including Saudis, say they are forced to spend their nights in the courtyards of the Grand Mosque because of extortionate room rates in Makkah during Ramadan.

The daily rent for ordinary rooms has risen to SR4,000 in Makkah during the last 10 days of Ramadan, Al-Eqtisadiah daily reported on Monday.

“My family and I spent the night in the courtyard because the room rents are very high. Actually, we came here with the intention of spending a week in the holy place. But since I cannot afford the exorbitant rent rate, I decided to spend one day here and return home,” said one Saudi man who was in the holy city with his wife and children.

There are many foreign Umrah pilgrims who also spend nights in the Grand Mosque because they cannot afford to stay in a room. Room rates began to shoot up when thousands of buildings were demolished for the expansion of the courtyards and other construction work in locations close to Grand Mosque. Another reason for the hikes is the increasing number of pilgrims going to Makkah during Ramadan. -arabnews