Makkah: Ten percent of buildings used for pilgrims' housing in Makkah fail to meet the criteria and conditions of hotel licenses approved by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA).

However, Zuhair Bin Makki Al Haddad, Chairman of Pilgrim Houses Inspection Committee told reporters on Friday that the committee will study the accommodation facilities in Makkah, Madina and the holy sites to enforce housing regulations and improve services.

He said that 6,514 buildings out of 7,000 were issued licenses. Buildings used for pilgrim housing will "accommodate 1,730,000 pilgrims this Haj season with the average area allocated for each pilgrim in a building being four square metres."

However, Abdul Wahid Saif Al Deen, Chairman of Non-Arab African Pilgrims Establishment, says the main problems the Haj missions face are rogue brokers providing buildings far away from pilgrims' services offices and housing pilgrims in buildings different from the ones mentioned in the contract.

The committee fears that these practices reflect very negatively on services provided to pilgrims. Sa'ad Jameel Al Qurashi, Chairman of the National Committee for Haj and Umrah in Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said starting next year Tawafah establishments will be responsible for pilgrims' housing and Haj missions won't play any role in this regard.

This year, 39 local Haj companies are offering accommodation in six towers on Mina Mountain opposite to Al Jamarat constructed by the General Investment Fund (GIF) and the General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI).

Authorities are allowing local Haj companies to rent the six towers to pilgrims coming from GCC countries.

The companies rented the towers from the GIF for SR60 million during the Haj season and they will rent them to local and GCC countries pilgrims. The price of each unit starts at SR9,000 and reaches SR12,000. "The return of rents is expected to be SR120 million," he said.