Singaporeans 'spending more on haj'
Pilgrims are younger and many are keen to stay closer to Grand Mosque
The Singaporean Muslim pilgrim is not just getting younger, but also more affluent.
And that means he is more willing to pay for costlier packages to Mecca, geopolitics professor Cedomir Nestorovic told The Straits Times, a point confirmed by travel agents here.
Some of these pilgrims can spend upwards of $15,000 for a 30-day package to Saudi Arabia, added the ESSEC Business School Paris-Singapore professor, who also teaches marketing in an Islamic environment.
"The first thing we have to stress - the haj is a spiritual journey. So for those lucky enough to go, this is the journey of their lives," said the Frenchman, who has been based here for three years.
Packages costlier across Causeway
A SINGAPOREAN pilgrim spends an average of about $13,000 on a 30-day package for the haj.
Travel agents The Straits Times spoke to said the higher end of the spectrum can see Singaporeans spending up to $18,000.
A haj package typically starts from about $10,000.
This is significantly lower than for pilgrims from Malaysia.
A check on the official website of Lembaga Tabung Haji, a Malaysian government-linked Muslim pilgrimage fund, showed that a pilgrim could spend between RM38,990 (S$15,300) and RM48,990 (S$19,200) for a similar 30-day package.
Top-tier 16- to 20-day packages can cost up to RM144,990, or S$56,800.