There has been a twenty percent increase in the number of Hajj pilgrims from Myanmar, Saudi Arabia's ambassador Sahal M.Ergesous told Mizzima on Tuesday.
Against 3800 Hajj pilgrims last year, 4500 pilgrims have applied and received visas from the Saudi embassy in Yangon for the Hajj this year.
This includes the 280 pilgrims selected by the Myanmar government, Ambassador Ergesous said.
He said ten pilgrims had been chosen by Riyadh as special guests of the Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
On Tuesday, in a brief ceremony at the Saudi embassy, Ambassador Ergesous handed over special kits to the ten special guests containing the white dress for Hajj, armbands containing the names of the pilgrims and other necessary accessories. They were also provided air tickets and passports stamped with a Saudi visa.
"I am so honoured to be on the list of special guests of King Salman. This is a dream come true," said Dr Maung Maung, former head of the department of history in Mawlamyine university.
Book distributor Alhaj U Aye Cho was delighted, "It is great for me."
The special guests include some clerics and Islamic scholars.
Ambassador Ergesous said Saudi business groups were very keen to invest in Myanmar.
"They were waiting for Myanmar government to finalise their investment law. Once that is done, you will have Saudi investment flow into Myanmar in many areas."
The ambassdor said more than one million pilgrims from all over the world have already arrived in Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj this year.
'We do not bring in politics while dealing with pilgrims," he said, adding that Saudi Arabia had problems with Iran and Qatar but pilgrims from these countries were liberally given visas to perform Hajj.