Quotes: MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Umrah travel package rates hiked this Ramadan, complain pilgrims  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - Muscat Daily - 02/07/2014
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!



(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) The holy month of Ramadan is the time when many perform Umrah. This year, several pilgrims have complained of hiked packages for the pilgrimage.


Agents, meanwhile, say the reason for higher charges are tighter restrictions on pilgrim quota by Saudi authorities. Those planning the pilgrimage say agents are taking advantage of the holy month and that obtaining visa has become more difficult this year.


The Saudi Arabian Embassy in Muscat has said that around seven travel agents and several sub-agents have been authorised to issue visas for Umrah.


The visa is issued free, but pilgrims have to process their applications through approved Umrah agents.


A service charge' applies, which varies from agent to agent and most packages include hotel, transportation and transfers.


A official from the Saudi Embassy said, ''There is no visa fee for Umrah.


The visa can be obtained through travel agents. Apart from this, we have no relation with the travel agents.''


Sameh Shaltoot, supervisor of Hajj and Umrah, Travel Point Travel City said, ''The visa fee last year was RO35 and is RO70 this year during Ramadan, the reason behind the hike being the Saudi government's restriction on quota. We get limited approvals for visas now. Hotels too have become expensive.''


He added, ''A package usually starts from RO175, but increases to RO225 during Ramadan, which is the busiest season for us. Last year we were able to issue around 2,500 packages during Ramadan and Shaban. But this year, we are looking at 1,000 to 1,500 packages. This quota system will be in place till 2017 because of expansions in Mecca.''


Muslim Mehmood, general manager of Al Hashar Travel said, ''We have a pressure of applications this time as the quota is limited. So, we have very limited number of visas being approved. The hotel rates are also high. Hence every agent charges differently. This Ramadan we have packages starting from RO200 while the off-peak rates start at RO80. I think we will be able to issue about 500 packages this year. During the past six months, we have been able to issue about 4,000 packages and this will fall during Ramadan not because of the cost, but the restrictions.''


M Abbas, a sub-agent said, ''Earlier I took groups for RO180 but the next bus trip will cost RO230 per person as it is the Ramadan season. There has been a rise of about 38 per cent.''


Siddique, a Pakistani pilgrim from Oman who booked his tickets last week said, ''The rates have gone up to RO75 for a simple package including basic hotel accommodation. The minimum price difference between agents is RO50. They say it is difficult to get visas approved.''


Sundus Amer, who wished to go on the pilgrimage said, ''Our family was supposed to go for Umrah, but the agents are charging too much. We are a family of six. Also, there is no assurance that visas will be issued. It's considered auspicious to perform Umrah during Ramadan, but we may have to postpone our plans.''


Performing Umrah is voluntary and can be done at any time of the year while Hajj is mandatory for those who can afford it financially and physically. It has to be performed during the Islamic month of


 


Muscat Daily




  MENA News Headlines
 Jan 25 2015 - Oman's Suez subsidiary signs USD37m landfill contractMENAFN
(MENAFN) Suez Environment via its local subsidiary Sita Al Basheer has won a contract to design, build and operate the expansion of the landfill site for five years. The total amount of the contract ...

 Jan 25 2015 - Saudi- Kingdoms economy expected to expand 3.22 this yearArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) DUBAI: Cheap oil will slow growth in most Gulf Arab economies this year but heavy spending by governments and healthy private sector activity will prevent any serious slump a ...

 Jan 25 2015 - Egypt awards USD112.04m contract for rail systemMENAFN
(MENAFN) Egyptian National Railways (ENR) said that it has awarded Alstom a USD112.04 million contract for the supplying of signaling equipment for the Beni Suef-Asyut line in Egypt, as well as its ...

 Jan 25 2015 - UAE's inflation hits 6-year high in DecemberMENAFN
(MENAFN) According to the figures released by the United Arab Emirates National Bureau of Statistics, the increase by more than 5 percent in the housing and utility costs led the UAE's inflation rate ...

 Jan 25 2015 - Dubai's Drake & Scull unit wins USD49m contractMENAFN
(MENAFN) Dubai's Drake & Scull International (DSI) said that one of its subsidies won a USD49 million engineering contract in the emirate, Gulf Business reported.Under the signed contract, the ...

 Jan 25 2015 - Dubai's Deyaar net profit down 43 percent in Q4MENAFN
(MENNAFN) Dubai's Deyaar Development said that it has registered a decline by 43 percent in its net profit during the October-December period of 2014, Gulf Business reported.During the fourth quarter ...

 Jan 25 2015 - Renault's GCC sales up 44 percent in 2014MENAFN
(MENAFN) Renault announced that it has registered a 44 percent increase in its sales within the region during 2014, which led by Dubai resulted in the manufacturer selling 23.626 vehicles, Emirates ...

 Jan 25 2015 - Sharjah firm to build solar power plantMENAFN
(MENAFN) Bee'ah, a Sharjah-based waste management company, announced that it is planning to build a solar power plant in the emirate with a capacity to generate more than 20 megawatts, Emirates 24/7 ...

 Jan 25 2015 - Bahraini JBG invest USD2.44m on expansion in GCCMENAFN
(MENAFN) Bahrain-based Jawad Business Group (JBG) announced that it was planning to expand its business in the UAE and the GCC by opening 10 new stores this year, with an investment of over USD2.44 ...

 Jan 25 2015 - Dubai Arabtec wins USD152m contractsMENAFN
(MENAFN) Dubai's Arabtec Holding announced that it has won two contracts in Abu Dhabi, through its Target Engineering unit, with the contracts having a combined value of USD152.5 million, Emirates ...

more...


 






Google

Click to Apply

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary


Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters


 
© 2014 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help