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Hajj, Umrah and Faith Tourism Fair’ kicked off in Istanbul, Turkey on Friday bringing together Hajj and Umrah companies, tour agents, airway corporations and visitors.

The fair, which was organized for the 5th time at Feshane International Fair and Culture Center this year, holds an important place for companies to display their potentials presenting alternative services to visitors.

Thanks to the organization, visitors, who plan to go to Hajj and Umrah, have a chance to get direct information to find best agency, which will take them to holy lands. Stands of Qurans, dates, prayer rugs and prayer beads take place in the fair. Some whirling dervish and reed flute shows are organized.

Basaran Ulusoy, President of the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TURSAB), who spoke at the opening of the fair, underlined the contribution of these kind of organizations and growth of hotels and restaurants to Turkey’s tourism sector. “Contribution of tourism income to economy has increased. We believe it will increase day by day,” Ulusoy told Anadolu Agency (AA).

Hajj, Umrah and Faith Tourism Fair will be open till Sunday. 35,000 people are expected to visit the fair this year.

Hajj is an Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca and is one of the five pillars of Islam, which must be carried out by every able-bodied Muslim, who can afford to do so at least once in his or her lifetime.

However, while the Hajj is a ‘major’ pilgrimage and compulsory for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it, the Umrah is not compulsory but highly recommended. It is sometimes called the “minor pilgrimage.”

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