A Study on Economic Impacts of Religious Pilgrimage Hajj in Saudi Arabia on Local Communities

 

 

A Study on Economic Impacts of Religious Pilgrimage Hajj in Saudi Arabia on Local Communities  

 

 

 

 

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Abstract

The Hajj event takes place in the city of Mecca, which is highly considered holy among the Muslim world. Mecca and Medina have numerous archaeological sites and historical sites that if well maintained can have tremendous impact to Saudi Arabia especially the tourism industry. Though there are concerns that are emerging, for instance, the destruction of some major buildings and sites that are of importance to the Muslims. Hammoudi (2006: 28) claimed that this not only affects the Muslim community but also tourism industry in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, sustainable management of Hajj event is a pertinent issue that needs to be addressed.

The government and other stakeholders have enhanced security standards, to make sure that the pilgrims are safe during the Hajj event. The government of Saudi Arabia has achieved this by deployment of plenty of security personnel who are being placed at different venues during the event. The population during the Hajj event is very big and sometimes hard for the security officers to take into account everything that goes on, to solve this, the planners have increased the number of surveillance cameras, which are placed everywhere. The cameras help the authorities in curbing major and minor crimes.

A case study approach was used to investigate and determine responses to various variables under study. The case study entailed the inquiry into sustainable management of Hajj event as a tourism destination, to benefit the local community in Mecca and Medina and promote non-oil economic development of Saudi Arabia. Among the 40 participants, 57.5% had attended Hajj event within the last 6 years. Majority of business people preferred carrying out business during Hajj season with most business that facilitates Hajj performance and pilgrimage, achieving high performance each year. In addition, 80% of participants supported infrastructure development to promote Hajj event as a tourism destination.

Table of Contents

Abstract 1

Table of Figures/Tables. 4

INTRODUCTION.. 5

Background of the Study. 5

Importance of the Hajj Pilgrimage. 6

Challenges Facing the Hajj Pilgrimage. 7

Impact of the Hajj Pilgrimage. 8

Problem Statement 9

Research Objectives. 9

Research Questions. 10

Research Aims. 10

Rationale of the Study. 11

LITERATURE REVIEW.. 12

Introduction. 12

The Hajj Performance. 12

Strategies of Management and Sustainability. 13

Potential of Sustainable Event Management of Hajj 15

Barriers and Success that the Event Planners Face. 17

Success of Hajj 20

Tourism in Saudi Arabia. 22

Impact of tourism expenditure on Non-Oil Growth. 25

METHODOLOGY. 27

Introduction. 27

Research Design. 28

Research Philosophy. 28

Research Approaches. 29

Research Strategy. 30

Data Collection Method. 30

Data Analysis……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….31

Validity and Reliability. 32

Research Ethics. 33

Limitations of the Research. 33

DATA ANALYSIS, PRESENTATION AND DISCUSSION.. 35

Introduction. 35

Data Analysis and Presentation. 35

Discussion. 45

RECOMMENDATION AND CONCLUSION.. 47

Introduction. 47

Recommendations. 47

Conclusion. 49

Reference. 51

Appendices. 55

Participant Information and consent. 55

Questionnaire. 55

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table of Figures/Tables

Fig 1 Non-Hajj Invitation …………………………………………….. 37

Fig 2 How Many Years After Did You Perform Hajj.………………… 38

Fig 3 Membership to a Professional Organization …………..……….. 39

Fig 4 Nature of Employee …………………………………….……….. 41

Fig 5 Which services do Pilgrims most like? ……………….……..….. 42

Table 1 Nature of Respondents ………………………….…….…..….. 35

Table 2 Place of Residence ……………………………………..…….. 36

Table 3 Ticket Type for Performing Hajj ………………….………….. 38

Table 4 Business Description …………………………………………….….. 40

Table 5 Season Most Preferred by Business People ………………….. 41

Table 6 Infrastructural Development ……………………….…..…….. 43

Table 7 Strengthening Security System ……………….…..………….. 44

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

The Hajj pilgrimage is one of the most popular and celebrated event in the world. Muslims from all over the world do take part in this holy event. To the Muslim community this event is regarded as a religious obligation since it is among the five pillars of Islam. The Hajj is actually the fifth pillar. This is an event that is celebrated annually and also considered as a way of showing solidarity and respect to God (Allah) (Welman, Kruger, & Mitchell 2005: 10). The annual-Hajj event has since early 2000 been considered a tourist destination especially in Mecca and Medina.

According to the Islamic faith, any Muslim who is physically fit and has the funds to attend the Hajj pilgrimage is advised to at least participate once in their lifetime. The lives of Muslims at that particular special state are known as Ihram. The pilgrimage usually takes place in the final month of the Islamic calendar; it takes place as from 8th to 12th Dhu-al Hijjah. This means that according to the Gregorian calendar the event takes different turns from year to year (Fortenberry & Manley, 2009: 15).

This event is dated back many years ago since the time of Ibrahim. The Hajj is basically about the life of the prophet Muhammad back in the 7th century. A number of activities take place during this event, and these activities are regarded as rituals. Hence these rituals are performed in a sequence by the pilgrims, who gather in the city of Mecca in the province of Mecca in Saudi Arabia to fulfil a religious duty (Berkey, 2003: 24).

It all begins around the Ka’aba, where every person is supposed to walk seven times counter-clockwise around Ka’aba. Ka’aba is a cube-shaped structure that acts as a guide to the Muslim prayer. Then from there one is expected to run back and forth between Al-Safa hill and Al-Marwah hill. They then proceed to the next ritual which is to drink from the well of Zamzam. The next ritual to be performed is stone throwing. This is considered a move of stoning the devil and it is done in mount Arafat, where one stands in vigil, to condemn the devil by stoning it (Wong & Williams, 2004: 18).

The next ritual to be performed is cutting down of the hair. Then eventually proceed to the next ritual which is the animal sacrifice to Allah, it is also the final ritual to be performed. Eid-al Adha is a festival that is celebrated in three days, in the entire universe. During the pre-Islamic period different tribes from all over the Arabian Peninsula would meet in Mecca city for the pilgrimage. The tribe did not matter at the time as Pagans too participated in the event (Daher, 2007: 32).

Importance of the Hajj Pilgrimage

According to the Muslim community the Hajj is an event of great and immense value that one mutually benefits after participating in the pilgrimage. The event since it is attended in large masses teaches us that no one is different from the other and that we are all equal. The Hajj also is a way of one showing his/her strong belief in the teachings and the ways of Allah. This is virtually a symbol of commitment to Allah (Hammoudi, 2006: 14).

Mecca is a city considered being the sacred or rather the most holy city in the Muslim world. Hence Mecca has numerous historical and archeological sites that many Muslims get acquainted with, both spiritually and historically. This in turn strengthens their faith, in the prophet Muhammad. It too acts as a reminder where every person will meet on the judgment day, to await Allah’s verdict on every person’s destiny. This event also teaches us the value of mercy and forgiveness since we all belong to God (Robinson, Wale, & Dickson, 2010: 16).

During the Hajj pilgrimage, Muslims dress uniformly and follow the same instructions that are given. Prayers are also said uniformly, at the same time, indicating that before God no one is special than the other and that before Allah everyone is equal. It also symbolizes the virtue of humility and devotion to Allah. This is a way of showing great faith to Allah who is supreme to all mankind (Pimple, 2008: 20).

Challenges Facing the Hajj Pilgrimage

During Hajj, there are certain rituals that are performed and one of the rituals is drinking from the Zamzam well. Producing an enormous amount of water to millions of people actually is challenging. Saudi Arabia is well known for producing oil it thus shows that the region is a dry region. This is to say that if proper ways are integrated at the event that will help to produce water for the masses it will be a tremendous help to the Saudi government (McMillan, 2011: 25).

The other issues are how the large number of animals sacrificed is disposed after the ritual of animal sacrifice is done. This is a task only left to the Saudi government which clearly shows that the government uses quite a huge sum of money to clean up Mecca city. Providing security to the people is also another huge task to the Saudi government. Therefore, if appropriate sustainable methods can be achieved, it will help curb the negative aftermath of the Hajj pilgrimage (Chittick, 2007: 30).

In order to guarantee sustainability of Hajj as a pilgrimage and religious event, there have been efforts over the years to ensure no political process interferes with the management of Hajj. For instance, the Hajj event is determined by religious leaders and the government of Saudi Arabia goes according to the determination of the Muslim leaders. The Hajj is a religious event among Muslims and if political events were allowed to affect Hajj performance, the Hajj would lose the original meaning of a sacred pilgrimage event. This in turn, would make the Saudi government and business and the community fail to gain from the economic value that comes with the Hajj event. In addition, the social norms and beliefs of the Muslims community would be degraded.  (Crofton, 2002: 22).

The above discussed issues are majorly important to the Saudi government. Such issues are of great concern especially so because a huge amount of money is used almost every year. This huge amount of money that is used can help in giving back to the Saudi government and it natives, as well. If this can be achieved, then most definitely there will be a major improvement in the Hajj event as well as on the tourism sector of Saudi Arabia (Bhushana, 2007: 19).

Impact of the Hajj Pilgrimage

In order for a huge event such as the Hajj pilgrimage to be well celebrated and a well known global event, there must have been numerous impacts that take place or happens. Therefore, there are various impacts that emerge before and after the event. This impact could be either positive or negative touching on both social and economic factors to the people of Saudi Arabia. Not only the people of Saudi Arabia but also to both Muslims and non- Muslims (Vasil’ev, 2000: 42).

The Hajj basically impacts on the faith of the Muslim community in that it motivates the feeling of unity among all Muslims. Hence, incorporate the world of Muslim without looking at the race, nationality or ones gender. This in turn, brings about unity and equality to both Muslims and non Muslims. Again those who have attended the Hajj or rather have taken part in the Hajj pilgrimage have an added advantage. This is to say that they are permitted to perform other Islamic practices such as fasting and saying the prayers (Taylor, 2009: 35).

The event however brings about the other side of the coin. For instance, the event minimizes international practices while it enhances the local beliefs. To some people they have different perception towards the Hajj saying that it brings about a particular kind of Islam. There are fears expressed as well that because the Hajj promotes a sense of togetherness among the Muslims the non-Muslims sometimes tend to suffer. For example, the bombers that attacked London public transport were said to have participated in the Hajj (Allen, 2009: 37).

Problem Statement

According to Paneerselvam (2004: 24), being a major global event that is attended by practically every race in the world, The Hajj pilgrimage has some issues that need to be looked upon. The event takes place every year therefore this means that every year the Saudi government has a chance of managing the event to enhance the living standards of the locals and for the nation as a whole. Most natives have a chance to make the event of great socioeconomic importance.

Every year, the Saudi government is put to task. This is to say that the government has to ensure that the welfare of mass population of over two million is guaranteed. The government of Saudi Arabia has to ensure that the infrastructure of Saudi is well established to help facilitate the event. The government spends a lot of money just to ensure the success of the event that takes place annually. Therefore, a lot of money will go to waste for almost a week if there is no proper sustainable management of the event (Crane & Weber, 2012: 34). This study seeks to determine viable opportunities for ensuring sustainable management of Hajj event and how the event can be utilized for tourist attraction, leading to non-oil development in Saudi Arabia.

Research Objectives

  1. To outline the potential future of the sustainable management of the Hajj
  2. To understand the barriers and success factors and what the event organizers face in moving the event towards sustainability
  3. To understand the existing strategies of sustainable event management, pertinent to the Saudi government’s management of Hajj
  4. To determine how tourism expenditures have had an impact on non-oil economic growth in Saudi Arabia.

Research Questions

  1. What is the impact of Hajj pilgrimage to the local community and Saudi Arabia?
  2. How does tourism expenditure affect non-oil economic growth of Saudi Arabia?
  3. What are the long term strategies that can be used to manage the Hajj?

Research Aims

This research aims to view the Hajj pilgrimage an event that takes place in Saudi Arabia, Investigating how this event can become economically sustainable and exploring the impact it has on the local community of Mecca and Madina cities. This research explains how the Hajj event is used as a religious case study that is also a part of Saudi Arabia religious tourism strategy.
Justification

This study is formulated to try and establish how the Hajj event can be well staged and managed in order to benefit Saudi Arabia economically. This study tries to explain how various ways or methods can be used to advance the event. In addition, it explores the numerous ways that the Saudi government views the impact the event has on the local community as well as on the tourism sector.

Rationale of the Study

This research hopes to achieve the most suitable ways of helping manage the Hajj pilgrimage and also tries to view how the event can be organized and managed. This is so to help try and include other advanced methods that will see the event more relevant from time to time. It also helps to see the significance and the impact of the Hajj to the community. The Saudi Arabia government allocates considerable amount in the annual budget to help enhance and facilitate this global event.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LITERATURE REVIEW

Introduction

This chapter comprises of a critical analysis of previous research on the Hajj event. It also gives a thorough review of the impact of Hajj performance and its importance to the Muslim community. In addition, socioeconomic factors will also be considered in this review.

The Hajj Performance

According to (Crane & Weber, 2012: 16), every year Muslims set out to the city of Mecca for Hajj which is a major pillar among the five pillars of Islam. It is associated with Prophet Mohammad. Hajj is a pilgrimage that a mature Muslim is supposed to attend at least once in his/her lifetime. Hajj goes back in time whereby the rituals performed during the event are connected to the symbolic life that Ibrahim lived with his son Ishmael and wife Hagar (Clingingsmith, Khawaja, & Kremer, 2008: 23).

Mecca is considered a holy city because the rituals happened in and around the city. It is where prophet Mohamed realized his calling after which he cleaned the Ka’aba which was polluted by idolatry. Thereafter he cleansed the Ka’aba and the first prayers were made. Those prayers were the inauguration of the pilgrimage (Blaxter, Hughes, & Tight, 2001: 20).

 According to the Muslim faith, Mohamed received the holy Quran in Mecca. After completion of performing the seven rituals in Mecca, Muslims then proceeds to Medina. The latter city is considered to be holy because it is where Prophet Mohammed ran for safety when he was being pursued by his enemies. It is also where the prophet Muhammad tomb is located. His companions’ tombs are also located there.

Janin & Besheer (2003: 32) stated that sustainable event management should incorporate the three factors of sustainability that comprise of economic environmental and sociological factors. Event planners should involve all the stakeholders associated with Hajj who in this case are the pilgrims, the two venues, service providers and the organizers of the event (Crofton, 2002: 27).

Strategies of Management and Sustainability

The government of Saudi Arabia ensures their inhabitants go for pilgrimage once every five years. This has been put in place, to control the crowd during the pilgrimage. However, it has policies to expand the shrines so as to increase the number of pilgrims every year. According to (Jones, 2010: 18) it also ensures that there are enough housing and proper health facilities to cater for the pilgrims. The government has also expanded the mosque that is termed to be holy in Mecca. It has also expanded the prophet Mohamed mosque in al Medina. There is also the availability of open pathways with directions for the pilgrims in a way of preventing crowds This has a positive impact on the environment as levels of pollution are reduced. This in turn, leads to environment sustainability (Bhushana, 2007: 44). With the lesser crowds, the rate of crime is minimized hence leading to social sustainability.

There are health restrictions whereby, a pilgrim has to ascertain a standard health requirement (Allen, 2008: 50). To achieve this, public health officers are placed at every entry points in Saudi Arabia. This is to avoid transmission of airborne diseases, communicable diseases among others. Proper health facilities and health attendants have also been placed at the venues, to cater for any eventualities. This is economically viable in that the pilgrims affected with sickness are easily taken care (Ljioui & Emmerich, 2008: 45). This reduces the risk of the sickness escalating to the inhabitants of Saudi Arabia thereby saving the country from losing its man power.

The government has taken the initiative of improving infrastructure and provision of more accommodation facilities to the pilgrims. Sheikh & Gatrad (2008) says that as a result, this has offered employment opportunities to the locals. Further it enhances sustainability in terms of their essential needs, which promotes the GDP of their country, thereby reducing the poverty index of the nation. As a result of improved infrastructure, there is easy mobility, which in turn attracts more pilgrims. It has led to the propagation of Islamic religion to be more accessible in the region. Moreover, it has facilitated trade increasing income to the inhabitants (Haddad, 2006: 51).

When planning the Hajj event, the issue of security is of paramount importance (Ismail, 2000: 40). This is to ensure that the safety of the pilgrims is guaranteed. In this case, the social welfare of the pilgrims is well maintained where they do not lose any of their valuables. The economic aspect of it is that the government benefits from the foreign exchange from the currencies carried by the pilgrims (Pfister & Tierney, 2009: 35).

According to McMillan (2011: 36), during the preparation of the Hajj event, all political activities are postponed. This is done to ensure that there are no interference with the management and performance of the Hajj. The pilgrims therefore have a peaceful and harmonious atmosphere during the period of observing the holy rites. The coexistence among each other brings about the social benefit whereby there are minimal cases of discrimination between the poor and the rich; as a result there is a great sense of belonging (Taylor, 2009: 11).

Holy shrines have been upgraded with regard to Mecca and Medina. This is in relation with (Hammoudi, 2006). As a result, they are now even tourist attraction sites. It has also attracted people from other faiths who want to study about Islamic region. This has impacted positively on the economic growth of the country. Hotels and hospitals have been built to cater for the influx of tourists visiting the sites. These have created employment opportunities to the locals thus raising their living standards (Hughes, 2013: 30).

Potential of Sustainable Event Management of Hajj

Swatos & Tomasi (2002: 28) state that event planners should advise the visiting pilgrims to use lead free vehicles. This lead-free fuel does not contain the lead element. Therefore, it does not produce smoke. All kinds of smoke cause a major threat to the environment whereby they have an effect to the air that we breathe. In addition, it destroys the ozone layer, which is supposed to prevent the ultraviolet rays from reaching the earth. The rays are the major cause of cancerous diseases. Therefore, the use of lead free fuel will be safe as this is geared towards achieving environmental sustainability (Singh, 2009: 48).

Raj & Musgrave (2009:22) state that use of lead-free vehicles will help curb the rising case of global warming, which results to climate change that has profound effects on the environment. This restriction will help reduce pollution levels. In the long run, it results to a healthy environment. Proper mechanisms of waste disposal have been put in place. The government has ensured wastes such as bottles and cans that the pilgrims carry along with them are disposed effectively. Skinner & Rukavina (2003: 14) argued that the government has come up with a strategy of recycling such materials in pursuit of environmental sustainability. This is so because these materials are non-biodegradable thus they pollute the environment.

It has also ensured that the meat that is slaughtered as a sacrifice is well kept in freezers and later distributed to the poor around the world. Scott & Jafari (2010) state that this has been done to prevent earlier cases of pollution whereby the meat was dumped as waste which caused pollution to the environment. Other means that can be adopted to help facilitate the event will include easing congestion. This can be achieved by not allowing more vehicles other than those of the locals (Chittick, 2007: 18).

According to Hassaballa, Helminski, & Firm (2006:11) on creating awareness, event planners have come up with workshops and seminars where they invite all the stakeholders. This is aimed at educating them on the importance of associating themselves with this historic event. At these workshops, they are enlightened on the benefits that accrue with this event. The local inhabitants get to understand the importance of the event. They therefore end up engaging in trade activities, which serve as an income generating activity to the inhabitants thus resulting to growth in the economy while improving their social standards (Kotler & Keller, 2009: 48).

Al-Rasheed (2010: 39) says that the government offers subsidized loans to those seeking for financial support. This will attract more people to borrow loans thus increasing the number of investors. This will help the inhabitants of Mecca and Medina to improve their living standards as there is increased opportunities for employment. This in turn, will improve the economy of their country (Porter, Abdel, & Museum, Hajj, 2012: 31).

Evaluation mechanisms have been put in place. This acts as a guideline to measure viability of the event. According to Pimple (2008: 16), this helps to determine if the strategies put in place are geared towards sustainability or not. Methods such as auditing and reports are used. Event planners give the government reports after completion of the event. This helps the government measure the success of their plans (Philips, 2000:20).

According to Ruthven (2004: 22), environmental impact assessments have been done at the start of projects. This in turn, helps to determine the impacts of these projects on the environment. Experts are being able to advice the government to invest on projects that have less impact on the environment. Projects that pose a threat to the environment have been abolished. This will help them achieve sustainability (Sharma & Jain, 2004:30).

According to Nasr (2003:42), improved infrastructure and transport has also helped the event management of Hajj. For instance, there is a great flow of traffic and minimal cases of overcrowding. The improved infrastructure has also resulted to increase in accommodation facilities, which is a positive impact on the economy of Saudi Arabia. These includes flow of income, the locals also have gotten permanent jobs that help them to sustain their social standards (Llitis, 2006:24).

There is the application of risk management systems that the government has used so as to mitigate the dangers that come as a result of the high population during the Hajj event. Due to the heat generated as a result of the huge crowds, it mostly results to fire. In this case, the government has changed the tents to be fire proof, and this reduces the fire from spreading. There have been reduced cases of riots and protests. This achieved by ensuring the pilgrims have enough supply of their required (Gibaldi, 2009:17).

Barriers and Success that the Event Planners Face

According to Allen (2009:28), when preparing for Hajj, the event planners encounter so many difficulties. The major problem that they incur is that the Hajj event is attended by a large number of pilgrims, and sometimes the number planned for by the event planners is exceeded. This becomes quite difficult for the planners as the resources available are not enough to cater for the pilgrimages also becomes difficult to control the pilgrims. This has a negative effect to the environment where cases of pollution might be experienced, and the huge crowds also change the climate which results to global warming.

The pilgrims come from all walks of life and different parts of the world. This results to the problem of communication as they speak different languages. This brings about a barrier where it is difficult to communicate to them and also to their fellow pilgrims. Illiteracy also causes a problem whereby the illiterate pilgrims cannot understand the simple communication and therefore results to miscommunication (Turabian, 2007:34).

The other problem that the event planners face is the level of accidents that occur during the performing of the rituals. Cases of trampling are experienced when the pilgrims ran to and from the two mountains seven times. This exercise is believed to have been done by Hagar, Ibrahim’s wife. There is congestion as the pilgrims hurry to finish. During this experience, many falls due to exhaustion or sometimes due to overcrowds and therefore end up being tumbled leading to major injuries and sometimes death. There are also increased causalities at the stone throwing event where the pilgrims stone the devil, here there is overcrowding, and since it is hard to control the crowd, pilgrims suffocate and collapse, some may suffer injuries and some even succumb to death (Clingingsmith, Khawaja, & Kremer, 2008: 40).

Insecurity is another major problem to the event planners to manage the highly attended event. There are cases of pickpockets who steal from the pilgrims, but also, terrorists disguise themselves as pilgrims and in turn set bombs which end up injuring and killing the pilgrims. There might also emerge cases of disagreements which turn to conflicts and sometimes riots during the Hajj period (Jones, 2010: 32).

The Hajj calendar varies from time to time every year. Therefore, it is performed annually at different times of the year. This has an effect on the planners whereby the weather changes, sometimes it is the hot season and sometimes it is the cold season. This brings about difficulties whereby the planners might have planned for the cold season, and instead they experience the hot season (Al-Rasheed, 2010: 39).

Bhushana (2007: 28) states that there are a number of barriers that continue to face the Hajj pilgrimage event. These barriers are experienced either before or after the event take place. Some of these barriers can be attested to the fact that a large number of people attending the event need to be taken care. After the event, there are clean-ups that need to be done. Therefore, both the government and the locals of Mecca and Medina face various challenges that affect their lives.

The event planners also face difficulties in cases there is an outbreak of a disease. In this case, the transmission is very fast due to the overcrowding and therefore controlling such a case becomes very difficult due to the high population during the event. Also placing the affected pilgrims in quarantine becomes difficult due to the regulation of the event. Therefore, it leads to death and loss of the pilgrims (Hammoudi, 2006: 28).

The high cost of planning for the event is also a barrier whereby for the Hajj event to be successful, it will require the event planners to incur costs so as to plan effectively. It becomes difficult for the planners in a way that the government allocates a certain amount of money for Hajj planning, so for a case where the event needs more money than the allocated amount, it has to find other means and in this case the need of donors who are hard to find. This leads to limited amount of resources (Kotler & Keller, 2009: 46).

The time set for planning the event is also a barrier. The allocated time for planning the event may not be enough for the planners to effectively plan. This is because Hajj has got a high population that requires a lot of time to plan so that it can be effective. Less time allocated results to the failure of the event (Clingingsmith, Khawaja, & Kremer, 2008: 53).

The unavailability of resources contributes to the failure of Hajj whereby the number of people attending the event exceeds the available resources. This causes constraints among the pilgrims as they do not have enough shelter. Instead, they have inadequate food supply, which result to cases of crime and riots as they claim for their demands (Blaxter, Hughes, & Tight, 2001: 38).

Success of Hajj

According to Hughes (2013: 30), one of the factors that have led to the success of Hajj is the government expansion policy of expanding the major holy sites. This has resulted to decrease of overcrowding and therefore the smooth flow of operations during the performing of the rituals. It has also taken the initiative of increasing the housing facilities for the pilgrims. This enables the pilgrims to stay in a more conducive environment. This has a positive impact to the economy whereby the locals engage in selling the merchandise that is holy. This increases their income, and in turn they sustain their social status

The improvement of the ritual sites has seen the walls that are used for stone throwing being made in a way that they absorb the stone. Therefore, it reduces cases of accidents among the crowded pilgrims who participate in the ritual. The government has also improved the infrastructure between the two hills where the Muslims walk back and forth. A two lane road has been created so as to distinguish the pilgrims during the performing of the rituals (Janin & Besheer, 2003: 38).

This lane has decreased cases of trampling and accidents. As a result, the Hajj event turns out to be free of accidents. It also enables the health officers to recognize the pilgrims who have been affected by heat, and also support the old pilgrims who are exhausted. There has been a great improvement in the way that the public health is handled. This has led to the success of the Hajj event whereby the pilgrims are properly inspected at all ports before entry into the country. This decreases the cases of transmission of airborne and communicable diseases. The pilgrims are also provided with free medical care during the Hajj period (Nasr, 2003: 42).

This free medical care is achieved by the many health facilities that are everywhere around the sites. The facilities are fully equipped with medical stuff and the required personnel. This gives the pilgrims the best medical attention that they require. Cases of causalities have decreased, and the emergencies are catered for with great speed. This is because there will be a standby emergency team, ready to respond in case of any injuries (Singh, 2009: 27).

Technology makes the planning of the Hajj event faster, hence its success. This is because there is the availability of software that performs the planning. Therefore, the work done is more efficient and fast because the software can work three times the labour that manual labour can do hence saving time and resources (Sheikh & Gatrad, 2008: 37). Event planning of Hajj has also been a major success as a result of better health planning. This has been achieved by the government introducing scanning equipment at all ports that the pilgrims go through before they enter into the country, this ensures fewer cases of infectious diseases. It has also improved the hospitals with modern equipment and ensured proper and enough supply of medical personnel. This ensures a healthy Hajj event. With health being a key issue to individuals with proper measures at hand, more people are prone to participate (Wong & Williams, 2004: 47).

When peace is achieved, there are changes in the economy of a nation. For instance, the level of peace in Saudi Arabia has enabled the country’s economy to grow. Therefore, this can also be attributed to the Hajj pilgrimage. In addition, the respected historical sites in Saudi Arabia are a sign of respect not only to Muslims but to Allah. The tourism industry has also been able to grow in Saudi because of the peaceful environment that is established (Tavakolian, 2012: 60).

Tourism in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is a country with great beauty not only from the famous Hajj pilgrimage but also for the natural beauty the country possesses. Very many people from various parts of the world do visit the country every year. Most of the people who have visited the country are mostly Muslims basically because it has most Islamic historical sites. Therefore, the government of Saudi is put to task on knowing how to manage the sites, as well as the Hajj pilgrimage (Turabian, 2007: 42).

According to Swatos & Tomasi (2002: 27), the country perhaps attracts many Muslims because of the Hajj but besides that, it is a country that has a lot to offer. Saudi Arabia is well known for its oil production all over the world. It also supplies its black gold to various nations all over the world. This is an indication of a nation that is dry but still manages to remain powerful in its economy. The vast oil wells are sceneries to be appreciated, the mountains as well as the beautiful waters of the red sea.

Saudi Arabia is regarded as the largest Arab nation. Well many may think that only Muslims visit the country but also non-Muslims do visit the nation as well as tourists. The country is blessed with attractive museums as well that are well established with the various cultures around Saudi Arabia. Tourist attraction sites in Saudi Arabia are naturally established and when well maintained they can earn the country enormous revenue (Taylor, 2009: 45). Mecca and Medina are well known tourist destinations in Saudi Arabia. Millions of people visit these two cities though only Muslims are permitted to visit the cities. Mecca is the city where the Hajj takes place and the place that Prophet Muhammad was born. It is also the city where the prophet is said to have an insight about the Quran. This is a city that commands great respect, honour and love among the Muslim community (Berkey, 2003: 34).
Tourism Expenditure in Saudi Arabia

The government of Saudi Arabia automatically has to spend a lot of money to deal with the increasing number of tourists visiting the country. Therefore, the expenditure of the tourism sector is a critical aspect that needs to be accessed. The reason to this is so as to examine the impact this expenditure has towards the economic growth of Saudi Arabia. In order to understand this, we need to understand how the Saudi government conducts its tourism expenditure (Pimple, 2008: 55).

The Middle East is currently struck by civil wars, but despite all this Saudi Arabia still receives many tourists. This is to say that, in the past few years, Saudi Arabia continues to record enormous profits. This shows that the country’s economy still survives despite the disasters hitting the region (Ross, 2003: 48). Tourism in Saudi Arabia is also supported by the private sector. There are a number of organizations that assist in enhancing the country’s tourist sites and events. The Hajj for instance is sometimes facilitated by some support groups. This is also an advantage to the country because it shifts the economic stability on oil. The population of Saudi Arabia also continues to grow with such improvements (Tavakolian, 2012: 53).

There are numerous plans underway by the country’s government to try and expand the tourism industry. According to public reports there are moves by the government to try and see if the country can accommodate a population of about eighty million people, which is planned for the next few years to come. Further expansion is to be done in the hotel industry in Mecca. This is a move that will try and see more construction of hotel rooms in the next years (Pandey, 2007: 48). This is a move that will not only help the tourism sector expand but also the economy. If this can be achieved, the employment will be created to the natives of the Saudi kingdom. This employment opportunity will last not only now but also in the near future. The business sector will as well record huge profit margins which in turn will uplift the living standards of the

The expenditure of the tourism sector in Saudi Kingdom can be accessed also by the number of departures it makes. The country records a high number of departures in the past recent years. This as well helps explain how expenditure is done. Another way to access expenditure in the tourism sector is by analyzing expenditure for travel items. In the past recent years the value for this expenditure however has not been steady. These are the areas the government should look into to be able to control tourism effectively (Sheikh & Gatrad, 2008: 29).
Non-Oil Growth in Saudi Arabia

Smith, Schwartz, & Shaw (2007: 48) claim that Saudi Arabia has a fast rising economy which has tremendous effects not only in the country but to the rest of the world. This is a state which is well known for its huge production in oil. Oil is another key factor that facilitates the growth of Saudi Arabia. The government controls the bigger percentage of this industry. Large amount of petroleum is produced in Saudi Arabia and it also constitutes a major percentage in the country’s budget revenue. The non -governmental organizations are now encouraged or rather allowed to involve themselves in power development.

When the private sector is allowed to participate in this huge task it enhances the need of initiating more developers in the industry. Oil is a major export product in the country; there are several oil wells in Saudi Arabia since it is a dry region. According to Saudi government there are plans underway to bring more developers on board from various parts around the world. These developers will be given a chance to invest on non-oil wells in different sections of the country (Ljioui & Emmerich, 2008: 28).

With good investment plans in the oil industry, Saudi Arabia has been able to attain greater heights in its economy. Since it is a well developed economy, more revenue is also attained to help in the country’s development. Saudi Arabia has also been able to have good business deals with other countries. Other countries benefit from Saudi Arabia especially the Islamic nations because they receive donations all because of non-oil growth (Pfister & Tierney, 2009: 45).

Impact of tourism expenditure on Non-Oil Growth

Tourism in Saudi Arabia has experienced a fast growth just as the non-oil growth in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, these are two major factors that have an impact on the economy of the country. They can impact on the economy of Saudi Kingdom either positively or negatively when well analyzed. These two variables are related, and this relationship is what shows the consequences they both have on the economy of Saudi Arabia (McMillan, 2011: 39).

There is a long term involvement starting from tourism spending to non-oil growth in Saudi Arabia. The rise of the tourism industry facilitates the rise of Saudi’s economy. This also applies on the non-oil growth because it also records profit margins on the economy. How tourism spending is conducted in the country, impacts on non-oil gross domestic product. This is shows how critical these factors are and should be dealt with carefully (Kotler & Keller, 2009: 44).

There are minimal effects of tourism spending to non-oil growth. This is to say that tourism in Saudi Arabia holds some percentage on the country’s economy. The non-oil growth too has a contribution in the kingdom’s economic expansion. When these factors are well analyzed, and major adjustments are done, they have a long term involvement that will boost the economy further (Ruthven, 2004: 45). Allen (2008: 38) argued that if a positive relationship can be developed between tourism expenditure and non-oil revenue, then the economy expands. More transactions will be conducted between the two sectors that will be of benefit. More job opportunities will emerge not only in Saudi kingdom but other parts nations that are involved with Saudi Arabia. In addition, this will attract huge investments in the country (Allen, 2008: 37).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

METHODOLOGY

Introduction

In this chapter, the study employed various methodologies that helped get a concrete conclusion. A qualitative analysis of appropriate policy and legislative documents of national and local government in Saudi Arabia was used. These are policy documents that are in the public domain. These documents helped understand the current situation regarding state and regional strategies used in managing the Hajj Pilgrimage. The research uses a thematic method to help understand the themes central to the event. The approach used to collect data is the questionnaires. These questionnaires were filled by the current residents of Mecca and Medina, to help determine the impact of Hajj on the community. The questionnaires also gathered both qualitative and quantitative data. The analysis included numerical analysis of quantitative responses (Llitis, 2006: 15).

This numerical response helps to indicate relevant demographic details. It also gives a more interpretive approach to the analysis of the textual answers given by the participants. These answers given by participants helps to analyze the experience they get from the impact of the event. Other critical areas in this chapter are the research strategies and choices. This helps to access the most relevant details (Welman, Kruger, & Mitchell, 2005: 23). Research design is also an important area that this study had to analyze in order to help understand the work. Research ethics is explained here so as to give a better informed data. A limitation of the research as well is indicated so as to explain the validity of research and also see if the research is considered reliable.

The interpretive philosophy that this research adapted, also tried to support a deeper understanding about it. In addition to this, the research philosophy assisted to relate the objectives of the study with the findings from other authors. This is as presented in the literature review. This further assists the research to get a more detailed explanation or results from the findings.

Research Design

The research utilized the case study research design to carry out this study. This is achieved through investigating the impact of Hajj among the local community and businesses. In addition, the research sought to determine the influence of Hajj on non-oil economic development in Saudi Arabia. In this study research, design is developed. Using research design assists to make the case study more understandable. Research design is developed in order to help one understand and internalize complex issues. This case study aims to understand the impact received from the natives regarding the Hajj pilgrimage event (Gibaldi, 2009: 30).

 This research aims to enhance the sustainability of the Hajj pilgrimage, and providing better suggestion on how to curb the negative impacts that are identified. The case study directs the researcher to know where to find appropriate information regarding the impact of the event. The key feature of this research is to collect data that will assist the researcher identify the problem. Once the researcher can know where the problem is then he/she will be able to come up with the possible remedy about it (Llitis, 2006: 25).

Research Philosophy

This research is able to use an interpretive philosophy. This philosophy tries to evaluate the event or rather the activity at hand by understanding the meaning. This approach establishes the exact information about the major challenge of the research. This data is attained from the local community in Mecca and Medina. Therefore, qualitative method is used to help understand the activity taking place even much better. This approach entails deeper evaluation of the information received. The information further needs to be categorized for wider explanation for the case study to be understood. This philosophical approach is used to help the researcher understand the sustainable event management of the Hajj Pilgrimage (Wong & Williams, 2004: 29).

Research Approaches

Research approach is developed to try and establish the link between variables. This is done so because of how wide the topic is relayed. Moreover, the topic has an area where it does not need to be changed in order to get more important information. The researcher hence decided to use a more defined method of study in order to improve on how the information is presented (Gibaldi, 2009: 26).

A valid conclusion is established after the situations were thoroughly explained from a general theory. After carefully examining and understanding observable information, the researcher was able to come up with a concrete conclusion. This formula enables the research to examine the general formula and establish a hypothesis from where a strong conclusion is established. This is important to this research in order to help the main issue of the study (Llitis, 2006: 18).

In addition this research sought to bring out a more comprehensive explanation of the findings in comparison to the variables. No changes were made on the information gathered. This is because tampering with the information risks altering the findings. An important aspect to note is the fact that using this approach enabled the researcher to group the data collected according to the variables (Welman, Kruger, & Mitchell, 2005: 20).

Research Strategy

In this research, in order to achieve the key features of the information gathered, the research had to use the survey strategy. This research strategy is used to try and get information from the respondents. This method facilitates the establishment of areas that need further questioning. The researcher came up with the research questions and the topic. The questionnaires are filled by the locals of Mecca and Medina. The responses are then carefully and critically examined in order to reach truthful and accepted conclusions (Blaxter, Hughes, & Tight, 2001: 22).

The case study research choices help to retrieve certain information that proves difficult in one way or another. This methodology was a critical one in order for the researcher to help necessitate the various decisions that had to be undertaken. In order for the case study to be a success, certain issues have to be well meditated. This was in order to avoid costly mistakes that would prove the research invalid. The type of approaches used in the case study was deductive and descriptive. This is necessary so as to establish the relationship between the variables (Philips 2000: 27).

Data Collection Method

Information that is collected in this case study is through the use of online platform. The researcher sent to the sampled respondents through emails. The sampling is done through correspondents, whereby the researcher contacts existing research centres to solicit their help in selecting respondents to this study. This is to say that the participants received the questions via email, filled the questionnaire and sent their responses through the same means. The researcher explains the questions in detail to those who were unable to internalize them properly. This enabled the researcher and the respondents to avoid mistakes in the process.

The critical analysis of previous study in this area provides various themes and pertinent issues to investigate. Consequently, research is able to establish the questions focusing on the importance or the significance of the research. The researcher is also able to get the necessary information to the answers in the case study questions. The questionnaire is developed after the questions in the form are gained after accessing the literature review. This in turn assists in examining areas that need to be reviewed and discussed (Welman, Kruger, & Mitchell, 2005: 33).
Data Analysis

In this case study, interpretive and descriptive data analyses is employed. This includes the researcher retrieving data from the respondents to set clear definition of the topic in the case study. This information is analyzed and explained so as to draw concrete conclusions (Llitis, 2006: 24). There are various categories of processing the information still to assist draw truthful conclusions. Editing of the information is also done this is to say that the researcher went through the questionnaire, to get the original themes. This is achieved after writing a summary of the findings.

Another information analysis that is developed that is descriptive. This formula helps the researcher to examine the information collected without changing anything. In the original analysis stage, the type of data is analyzed. For example, there is a careful analysis done when editing. This is achieved by viewing the similarities and differences of the variables, before and after, in order to know if there is any alteration on the information. The findings in the case study are relayed in numerical form. This was quantitative analysis this method was descriptive as it helps asses the study. This includes testing of questions before being issued to the respondents. The other form of data analysis is through measures of central tendency. This enables the researcher to describe how data is obtained from one main point (Blaxter, Hughes, & Tight, 2001:40).

Validity and Reliability

Research findings and recommendation are considered to be reliable if they can be interpreted and understood by other researchers. For this to be convenient, other researches that have been done before or in the future, should have at least exact results or almost similar. This should be a research that is almost the same with other case study. For a researcher to ensure that his/her study is reliable, one must utilize techniques used before in the study area (Pimple, 2008: 20). For example, in this research, the research examined other case results of other studies. Such results were that on the impact of the Hajj pilgrimage and sustainable event management of the Hajj in Saudi Arabia. When this is done, the research is able to ascertain that indeed there are more appropriate ways of managing Hajj, and have better solutions of dealing with the impact or the aftermath of the event. In addition, the research was able to find results from other case study on how the Hajj event would have a tremendous effect on the government of Saudi as a tourist destination site (Gibaldi, 2009: 19).

An information collection tool, such as a questionnaire, is approved if it has the correct method for which it was initially designed. In this case study questionnaires are used; its validity is therefore measured by sampling a few questionnaires for testing purposes. This is because it ensures that the collection tool retrieves the data that it is supposed to retrieve. All this is achieved to prove that this research can be used by other researchers (Paneerselvam, 2004: 32). The research examines whether or not if employed, the questionnaire will achieve the desired purpose of the research design. This methodology is analyzed by knowing if the key features of the population are known to the population itself. In the first page of examining, grouping of information is done thoroughly so that similar theories and answers are put together (Wong & Williams, 2004: 22).

Research Ethics

In order for the case study to be successful, there are certain issues that need to be checked. Ethical issues are important this is to enable the research to be conducted with a high level of discipline. Those who participated did so at their own will. For instance, every respondent had to agree to give information at free will. The locals had to be assured that every detail discussed had to be a private affair. Permission had to be granted by the locals before interviewing them. Privacy was an important aspect in order to prevent cases of victimization. Only questions that were significant to the case study were asked (Blaxter, Hughes, & Tight, 2001: 31).

Indoctrinated and vague data is also not obtained. This is done to enable the researcher to attain appropriate and important data only. In this case study originality is analyzed in that any work done by other researchers is identified. The research also makes sure that no personal opinions are fabricated. If any information is fabricated, then it means the research took sides. This is not the case in the case study; this enables a valid and reliable research. Another ethical aspect that has to be looked into is the tools used to conduct research. The tools used in the case study have to be assessed. The method used to obtain data has to be evaluated. This ensures that the information obtained is genuine and credible (Pimple, 2008: 24).

Limitations of the Research

When conducting the research, there are certain problems experienced. Some of the problems entail getting in touch with the locals in order to get information. Many locals are committed to their work therefore getting them for an online interview is quite difficult. Therefore, a lot of time is consumed in trying to organize how to reach them. This is dealt with by booking appointments in advance in order to get the respondents.  Other participants consider the activity as not important thus some were reluctant in giving out information. Some questions were left unanswered in the questionnaire this shows how some disregarded the research. However the researcher took time to clearly explain the importance of the activity to them.  The cost of conducting the case study was also a major challenge. Reaching the highly distributed sample proved difficult. This was also due to network hitches in some areas. In order to manage this adequate internet connection was provided. Improved technological gadgets also assisted in the study.

Another challenge experienced is when phrasing the questionnaires. There are respondents who do not know how to read or write. Some respondents also are not knowledgeable on how to use the internet. This is a major challenge to the research in setting the questions to the understanding level of a participant. This too takes a lot of time which means in other cases the researcher has to take time. The researcher had to explain the questions to the respondents to enable them answer the questions well (Crofton, 2002).

 

 

 

 

 

DATA ANALYSIS, PRESENTATION AND DISCUSSION

Introduction

The chapter comprises of the presentation of data in tables and charts, and the discussion of the analyzed data. The researcher employed interpretative approach to analyze the data.  Descriptive approach to presenting the data was adopted since the collected data did not require any alteration.

Data Analysis and Presentation

            This entails the analysis and presentation of the data collected from the 40 participants. All the sampled respondents participated in the filling of the survey form, which was sent to them. The researcher received all the responses and applied both interpretive and descriptive methods of analysis and presentation.

Nature of Respondents

            The highest number of participants in this study, 65%, was people who owned a business either individually or partnership. Individual respondents comprised 35% of the participants in this research.

Table 1 Nature of Respondents

Respondent

Frequency

Percent

Individuals

14

35.0

Business Owners

26

65.0

Total

40

100.0

 

 

 

Place of Residence

Majority of the respondents, 25% were permanent residents in various Asian countries, especially the Arab nations, which have great number of their citizens professing Islamic faith. This was followed by participants from European nations, who comprised 17.5% of the respondents. Permanent residents from both Mecca and Medina comprised the highest number of respondents, which was 27.5%. This depicts considerable high local-residents value for pilgrimage.

Table 2 Place of Residence

Permanent Place of Residence

Frequency

Percent

Mecca

6

15.0

Medina

5

12.5

Africa

3

7.5

America

6

15.0

Asia

10

25.0

Europe

7

17.5

Latin

3

7.5

Total

40

100

Non-Hajj Invitation

            A large number of respondents, 58% had invited their friends and families for other non-Hajj invitation to Saudi Arabia, especially Mecca and Medina. However, 35% had not invited friends and family members beyond Hajj performances. Therefore, more than average number of respondents considered Saudi Arabia a tourism destination beyond the annual pilgrimage visit to perform Hajj. Only 7% of the participants declined to respond to the question of whether or not they had invited a friend or family member.

Fig 1 Non-Hajj Invitation

 

How Many Years have Elapsed after your last Hajj Performance

            Respondents were asked to state the number of years which had elapsed after their last performance of Hajj. Thirty percent of the respondents had performed Hajj between 4 and 6 years before. There were 27.5% of participants who had performed Hajj from 1 to 3 years after their last performance. Respondents, who had performed Hajj between 1 and 6 years before, stated that they had also invited a friend or a family to visit KSA as a tourist and not necessarily as a pilgrim. In addition, 25% claimed that they had not performed Hajj before while 17.5% argued that they had visited the sacred cities as pilgrim after seven or more years.

 

 

 

Fig 2 How Many Years After Did You Perform Hajj

 

Ticket Type for Performing Hajj

            The greatest number of respondents, 37.5%, claimed that they had a ticket for family with spouse. Hajj performing visits had the highest number of ticket among the respondents. Family with spouse and children were the second largest number tickets according to the participants.

Table 3 Ticket Type for Performing Hajj

Type of Ticket

Frequency

Percent

Individual

11

27.5

Family with Spouse

15

37.5

Family with Spouse And Children

8

20.0

Not Performing Hajj

6

15.0

Total

40

100

 

Membership to a Professional Organization

            Seventy four percent of respondents were members to a professional organisation.

Therefore, majority of participants were subscribed to a professional organization. These included trade and business association to promote effective market regulations, and labour union to enhance collective bargaining among employees for better working condition. Only 23% and 3% of the respondents did not belong to any professional association and declined to answer respectively.

Fig 3 Membership to a Professional Organization

 

Business Description

Thirty eight percent of the businesses were either restaurant selling all types of drinks, foods and accommodation, or condominium rental whereby individuals and companies owner a part of real estate to provide accommodation facilities to tourist visiting Mecca and Medina. The performance of retail shops and other sales, and recreation facilities was considerable high within Mecca and Medina. The 19.2% choice for restaurants was due to the nature of this business to offer various services that compliment tourism. Condominium rentals were preferred since they involve relative low-start capital compared to the real estates.

Table 4 Business Description

Type of Business

Frequency

Percent

Recreation

4

15.4

Restaurant

5

19.2

Retail Sales

4

15.4

Hotel

3

11.5

Rental

5

19.2

Real estate sales

2

7.7

Others

3

11.5

Total

26

100

             

Nature of Employee

Among the business people who responded to the questionnaire, 38.5% claimed that full-time employees were between 50 to 60% of their total work force. Only 11.5% of business people who participated in this study had 71 to 80% of their employees as full time workers. Forty five percent of participants who had big restaurants claimed that on average, 50% of their employees were on full-time basis. These big restaurants had between 35 and 50 employees.

 

 

 

Fig 4 Nature of Employee

 

Season Most Preferred by Business People

The Hajj season was the most preferred season of doing business. Among the business people, 53.9% of them ranked Hajj season as the best season for high business returns, which was followed by the winter season, which received 23.1 % ranking support. Table 4.5 represents a ranking list of seasons in percentage since all respondents were expected to choose the season that brought the highest economic returns in their business.

Table 5 Season Most Preferred by Business People

Season

Frequency

Percent

Winter

6

23.1

Summer

3

11.5

Hajj

14

53.9

All

3

11.5

Total

26

100.0

Services Preferred by Pilgrims

Most respondents, 58% preferred public services when visiting Mecca and Medina. However, the choice for private services was relatively considered, whereby it elicited 42% support from the respondents. Pilgrimage is a desired status among the Muslims. Therefore, all respondents who preferred public services also came as pilgrims to visit Mecca/Medina during the Hajj season. Winter season also enjoyed high turnover of pilgrims’ visit compared to summer season. According to the respondents, 86% of customers who patronized their businesses during Hajj season were pilgrims. Winter season enjoyed 47% of pilgrim’s visiting the business premises to acquire various services while during summer season only 19% of service seekers were pilgrims.

Fig 5 Which services do Pilgrims most like?

 

 

 

 

Infrastructural Development

There was strong agreement that infrastructural development and improvement was necessary in enhancing the sustainability of managing Hajj event. Among these areas of improvement include transportation, airport, accommodation and medical services. Eighty percent of the respondents agreed that enhancing infrastructure was needed to promote Hajj as a tourism destination and source of revenue for Saudi Arabia. Only 7.5% disagreed there was need for infrastructure improvement to ensure sustainability of managing Hajj.

Table 6 Infrastructural Development

 

Scale

Distribution

Frequency

Percentage

Strongly agree

17

42.5

Agree

19

47.5

Neither

1

2.5

Disagree

2

5.0

Strongly disagree

1

2.5

Total

40

100

 

Strengthening Security System

There was strong agreement that installation and improvement of security system was necessary in enhancing the safety of pilgrims and sustaining the Hajj event. Majority of respondents, 67.5% agreed with this statement while 17.5% disagreed with the fact. Those who argued in favour of strengthened security systems stated that the management of Hajj would be sustainable when pilgrims are assured of their safety. They claimed strengthened security system would ensure only the expected individuals gain entrance to the event. In addition, guaranteed safety would attract growing numbers of pilgrims, which would result to rising economic returns from the Hajj event.

Table 7 Strengthening Security System

 

Scale

Distribution

Frequency

Percentage

Strongly agree

15

37.5

Agree

12

30.0

Not Sure

2

5.0

Disagree

5

12.5

Strongly disagree

6

15.0

Total

40

100

 

Reduction of the Overcrowding and other Actions

            All respondents agreed that there was need to reduce overcrowding especially during Hajj performances. According to the participants, it was imperative to increase accommodation and ensure the safety of pilgrims through policy regulation to combat illegal pilgrims. Seventy three percent of respondents argued that this would minimize overcrowding in Saudi Arabia and enhance management of Hajj as a tourism destination and pilgrimage. In addition, 51% claimed that there was high positive-correlation between quotas and overcrowding during Hajj performance. Reduction of quality of service and increase in prices of services and commodity received low-preference of 9% and 6% respectively, as solution to overcrowding. There were suggestion of expansion of facilities to accommodate high number of visitors during Hajj performance and other seasons.

Discussion

The researcher found out that in order to ensure future sustainable management of the Hajj, there was need to promote visit to Saudi Arabia beyond the Hajj performance. This would have the effect of encouraging individuals to familiarize themselves with Mecca and Medina during other seasons. The study determined that non-Hajj invitation were important in promoting management of Hajj. The researcher noted that some potentials visits were avoided due to unfamiliarity of foreigners to the operation and other regulation in Saudi Arabia. Hassaballa, Helminski, & Firm (2006:11) argued that creating awareness and organizing workshops and seminars in Mecca and Medina during Hajj performance, are imperative opportunities of promoting Hajj event. In addition, stakeholders in the Hajj event should organize forums in different countries whereby they invite both previous Hajj attendants and those who have never attended. This would create awareness of the importance of participating in this historic event.

This study determined various barriers and success factors that are inherent for sustainable Hajj event. These factors include creating awareness among Muslims to visit Mecca to perform Hajj, overcrowding during Hajj performance and limited infrastructure. This is especially in transportation, airport, accommodation and medical services. According to Kotler & Keller (2009: 46), limited accommodation and large crowds performing Hajj leads to overcrowding. This had led to death and injuries of pilgrims, causing previous attendants to avoid visiting Mecca or Medina during Hajj season. However, desire for pilgrimage and the sacred-value places on Mecca and Medina cities by Muslims are among the success factors indentified in this study. The study also established lack of adequate security as an impediment that the event organizers face in moving the event towards sustainability.

According to the findings of this study, there are certain businesses that were more preferred over others in Saudi Arabia. The government could promote the businesses, which perform well as a strategy of attracting foreign investments in the management of Hajj. Such promotion would take the nature of subsidies, reduction in taxation and other market regulations. For instance, the researcher found out that restaurants were more preferred to hotels. Hotels offers only foods, drinks and conference facilities while restaurants offers accommodation and boarding services in addition to services and facilities offered by hotels. On the other hand, condominium rental ventures were preferred that development of real estate for sale. The former provides flexible business opportunity, whereby an individual or a company does not have to own the whole building. According to Gilsenan (2000:35), it is imperative for the government to understand and come up with strategies of sustainable event management pertinent to the Saudi government’s management of Hajj.

The researcher determined that nature of business in Saudi Arabia depends on tourism attraction events such as Hajj. This is because expenditure from pilgrims who visit Saudi Arabia for Hajj performance is considered to be a non-oil income to the economy of Saudi Arabia. According to the findings of this study, more than 50% of those who seek services from various service delivery points during Hajj season were pilgrims. Therefore, there are increasing revenue collections from such tourism activities such as Hajj performance, which is the case study in this research.

 

RECOMMENDATION AND CONCLUSION

Introduction

            This chapter entails a discussion of the recommendations that the study puts forward to various policy makers and stakeholders involved in management and sustainability of the Hajj event. The recommendation emanates from the findings of this research.  This means that the study considered various areas of the findings that require the attention of different stakeholders before formulating the recommendation of the study. Finally, the research finishes this chapter with a conclusion of study.

Recommendations

It is imperative for the government and business people of Saudi Arabia to promote and improve Hajj event as a source of tourism attraction and trade. Entrepreneurs within Saudi Arabia especially Mecca and Medina can take the initiative of looking for available market opportunities for their goods and services. The government might consider reducing trade regulations and establish subsidies for businesses in the tourism industry to promote Hajj event as a tourist destination. This will facilitate faster flow of products. It will also provide a better source of income as the products sold as exports are sold more expensive as compared to those sold within the country. This in turn, will raise the living standards of the locals who in this case are inhabitants of Medina and Mecca. According to Porter & Museum (2012:42), this will also contribute to the improvement of their economy

Hajj events bring individuals from various part of the world to exercise their pilgrimage desires. The visitors carry with them money in the currency of the state of their origin. The government has an opportunity of enhancing the use of additional currencies by pilgrims, apart from the common currencies especially the international currency such as dollar, sterling pound and euro. The use of most international currencies has improved the economic growth of Saudi Arabia. This is so because the Saudi government benefited in terms of taxation. These currencies are charged higher than the Denarii (Vasil’ev, 2000: 25). Therefore, adoption of more foreign currencies in Saudi Arabia will enhance the management of Hajj event and bring a lot of economic benefits.

When planning the Hajj event, the event planners can consider the high health standards of the pilgrims. This can be enhanced by ensuring that the pilgrims are in good health before they enter the city of Mecca. This is done by ensuring that they are properly examined at the ports by public officers before they are allowed in the country. There are also improved health facilities, which are equipped with enough health attendants who are ready to cater for any cases of emergency. As a result, there are minimal cases of disease infection (Ross, 2003:43).

The government and other stakeholder may consider monitoring and evaluating the impact of Hajj event on the tourism industry. Tourism expenditure in Saudi Arabia can be explained in a number of ways. We can examine the expenditure of the country in terms of receipts in total output. This is the amount of output by the international inbound visitors. This is also the amount of money used in the transport sector. According to Jones (2010: 38), this is an important aspect when evaluating tourism statistics in Saudi Arabia. It also includes how the natives of Saudi Arabia relate to other people from around the world.

In order to guarantee the success of Hajj performance as a tourism destination in Saudi Arabia, it is significant to establish cooperation among stakeholders such as service providers, tour-companies and the government. Scott & Jafari (2010: 39) state that proper networking among the event planners contributes to the effectiveness of the event. This is because the event planners do not have a problem in reaching a consensus on the issues that affect them. As a result, there is a smooth flow of the planning session. This brings about the flow of ideas that can be used in improving the planning process.

The adoption and improvement of modern technology in the management of Hajj event is among the tool that can be employed in enhancing economic returns of the Hajj.  Adoption of information technology and other standardized modes of service delivery throughout the years will results to success of event management of Hajj, towards sustainability. Like in the case of controlling crimes and ensuring the security, the event planners ought to use surveillance cameras in all the venues. This will enables them to curb crimes. These cameras also make the work of security officers a lot easier as it is hard for them to take into account every happening due to the great population (Ruthven, 2004: 44).

Conclusion

During the Hajj event, there are certain rituals that are performed. These rituals need to be done since they are considered important. Some of these rituals include drinking water from the Zamzam well. This to the local community is a hindrance this is to say that huge amount of water has to be provided for the millions of people. It is worth to note that Saudi is a dry region with a problem of scarcity of water for the local community’s consumption and use. The event planners also experience difficulties in the logistic problems whereby the pilgrims are a large population over a small space, and they have to move, especially in one direction. It therefore becomes very difficult for the event planners to plan for the event successfully. This is because due to the large crowds, heat forces are generated, which might in turn lead to the pilgrims collapsing and incurring injuries.

The Hajj event is attended by many people from different parts of the world. This event takes place in Mecca and Medina, whereby participants visit to exercise their pilgrimage. People from different backgrounds attend the event. It not only brings them together, but it also enhances their Muslim faith. This is an important aspect to note because currently the Middle East is experiencing a lot of wars. When the Hajj Pilgrimage takes place, then most Muslims from the Middle East are actually reminded the need for peace. The event also enhances tourism activities in Saudi Arabia. However, there is limited utilization of the opportunity provided by the Hajj event and documented study to foster non-oil economic development in Saudi Arabia. The government has in the recent years attempted to promote Hajj as a tourist destination. Therefore, there is need for further study to determine viable approaches of promoting Hajj event and other non-oil economic development opportunities in Saudi Arabia. These includes study on factors that would create awareness of Hajj as a pilgrimage and tourist destination among different nations, and survey to determine viable marketing approaches to promote Hajj performances as a religious and economic activity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Appendices

Participant Information and consent.

 

By completing and submitting your answers to this questionnaire you are voluntarily consenting to those answers being used as part of a research project into the economic impact of Hajj, and religious tourism, in local communities in Saudi Arabia.

 

The research is a small scale study being conducted by Ziyad Al-Sultan as part of his Master of Science degree in events management, at Leeds Metropolitan University (UK). Neither your name nor any other personal details will be included in the dissertation.

 

The research will be published as a Master’s dissertation. Copies will be held by the university and the student, but it will not be published elsewhere without seeking your prior consent to that publication.

 

If you wish to withdraw from your participation in this project please inform Ziyad directly, by email (z.al-sultan9742@student.leedsmet.ac.uk), or via the person who gave you this questionnaire. You may also contact Ziyad’s supervisor if you have any questions. He is Dr Ian R Lamond (email: i.lamond@leedsmet.ac.uk)

 

Questionnaire

Please answer as many of those questions that apply to you as you can.

1

Is Mecca or Medina your permanent place of residence?

 

 

a)     Mecca

b)     Medina

c)     Neither

1a

If neither, which country did you travel from to come to perform Hajj?

 

 

 

 

2

Do you ever invite your friends or family to visit Saudi Arabia beyond Hajj?

 

 

a)     Yes

b)     No

c)     Prefer not to answer

2a

If “Yes”, how many years have elapsed after your last hajj performance?

 

 

a)     1 to 3 years

b)     4 to 6 years

c)     7 or more years

d)     Not applicable

3

Which type of ticket(s) do you use to perform Hajj

 

 

a)     Individual

b)     Family, with spouse

c)     Family with spouse and children

d)     I am not here to perform Hajj

4

Are you a member of a professional organisation (for example a Labour union, business association or trade association)?

 

 

a)     Yes

b)     No

c)     Prefer not to answer

5

If you are have a business in Mecca or Medina please circle the descriptions that best fit your business from the list below.

 

 

a)     Ski/ Recreation

b)     Restaurant

c)     Retail sales

d)     Hotel

e)     Condominium Rental

f)      Real estate sales

g)     Other (Please specify)

_________________________

5a

Please indicate your total number of employees for the fiscal year 2012

 

 

 

5b

What percentage of those employees are full-time?

 

 

a)     Less than 50%

b)     50% to 60%

c)     61% to 70%

d)     71% to 80%

e)     Greater than 80%

5c

Please circle all those seasons you open for business?

 

 

a)     Winter season

b)     Summer season

c)     Hajj Season

d)     All three

5d

Which services do Pilgrims most like?

 

 

a)     Public

b)     Private

5e

What percentage of the people you serve during the following seasons come as Pilgrims to visit Mecca/Medina?

 

 

a)     Winter season____________

b)     Summer Season__________

c)     Hajj Season______________

6

To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement:

More development in transportation, airport, accommodation and medical services should be enhanced? (Please circle the number that most closely fits your opinion)

 

1

2

3

4

5

Strongly agree

Agree

Neither Agree Nor Disagree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

7

To reduce the overcrowding in the Saudi Kingdom, what measures do you support. (Please circle all those that apply)

 

 

a)     Minimize the quota

b)     Increase the area for accommodation

c)     Reduce the service quality

d)     Increase to price

e)     Strictly track any illegal pilgrims

f)      Non-of the above

g)     Other (please specify)

________________________

7a

To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement:

Installation of Sensors, Processors and Display Screens has strengthened the security system? (Please circle the number that most closely fits your opinion)

 

1

2

3

4

5

Strongly agree

Agree

Neither Agree Nor Disagree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

8

What type of action do you think can be taken to improve the management of Hajj?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

             

 

Thank you very much for completing this questionnaire.

 

 

 

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One thought on “A Study on Economic Impacts of Religious Pilgrimage Hajj in Saudi Arabia on Local Communities

  1. Adnan August 5, 2016 / 7:41 pm

    Please I want to cite and quote this study, but who is the author? or is it published in a formal journal?

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