Photographer: Karim Sahib/AFP via Getty Images

Forget Oil. Religion Is Big Business in Saudi Arabia

The kingdom is counting on a surge in Muslim pilgrims to help drive economic growth

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Every week, hosts Dan Moss and Scott Lanman bring you a jargon-free dive into the stories that drive the global economy.

Saudi Arabia may be best known for its vast supply of oil, but outside of that industry, Islamic tourism is one of the kingdom's biggest businesses. Hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, as well as other Muslim pilgrimages throughout the year, have been driving growth in tourism, with a building boom to match. The country is seeking to remain a destination, while liberalizing its ultra-conservative rules such as the ban on female drivers. Scott is joined by Siraj Datoo, a Bloomberg editor in London, to discuss his recent hajj experience and the economics of the pilgrimage, as well as Donna Abu-Nasr, a Bloomberg reporter who covers the Middle Eastern economy.


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