Business booming for money changers
Pilgrims are now frequenting currency exchanges in their thousands in downtown Madinah to change their currencies to help them shop in the Taiba market. Numbers of such pilgrims have skyrocketed with large groups of pilgrims and visitors to Madinah arriving from all over the world with different nationalities and various currencies.
According to the expectations of currency changers, more than a quarter of a billion Saudi riyals have been exchanged in all of the currency exchanges in the holy city during the pilgrimage season this year.
During a tour of the central business district by Arab News, it was found that the purchasing movement in the region and the demand for switching currencies is strong, and many currency changers are proud to have sufficient experience in detecting counterfeit currencies through looking closely at the bills to identify fake money.
To assist pilgrims, there are highly informative banners and signs written in several languages, which are placed in the shops for customers.
Interestingly, many Nigerian and Senegalese pilgrims have been found to be carrying Saudi riyal checks rather than currency. The majority of pilgrims changing currency are from Africa.
Most money changers in these shops are well-versed in the languages used in the field of currency exchange, and able to communicate numbers in Bahasa Indonesia, French, Persian, Urdu and English.