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RIYADH: The number of Hajj pilgrims reached 899,353 in 2022, or Hijri year 1443, as the easing of COVID-19 restrictions prompted the return of foreign visitors, according to the General Authority for Statistics.

The GASTAT data revealed that the number of pilgrims from foreign countries totaled 779,919, and those from within Saudi Arabia were 119,434.

While the number of attendees is dramatically higher than the 58,745 who made the journey last year when the pilgrimage was restricted to people residing in Saudi Arabia, it is still below the average.

From 2009 to 2019, the number of Hajj pilgrims averaged 2,389,671 each year, according to data compiled by Arab News — with 2,489,406 attending in 2019, 

During this period, the 2012 season topped the charts with 3,161,573 worshippers performing the Hajj.

In terms of regions, people from Asian countries, excluding Arab nations, constituted 53.8 percent of the total number of devouts.

Worshippers from Arab countries constituted 21.4 percent, followed by African countries excluding Arab nations at 13.2 percent. Pilgrims from Europe, America, and Australia were 11.6 percent.

Some 95 percent, which translates to 738,680 of the Hajj pilgrims not residing within the Kingdom, arrived by air, while 35,210 and 6,029 pilgrims reached Saudi Arabia by land and sea.

The total labor force for this year’s Hajj season included 228,721 people, which consisted of 21,602 workers in health services, 19,817 in transportation, 6,734 in water and electricity supply, and 3,294 in telecommunications services.

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