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Global - August 23, 2021

Cost of Umrah to double for Bangladesh Pilgrims

 

The cost will go up from Tk80,000 to Tk1.4-1.5 lakh

 

Bangladeshis will have to pay nearly double the regular amount for #Umrah pilgrimage, thanks to coronavirus safety measures on board and in Saudi Arabia.

 

The pilgrimage resumed this month after being suspended for around 17 months.

 

According to the #Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh (Haab), the pilgrims will have to pay more for air tickets, accommodation and transportations in the country – which are poised to raise the minimum Tk80,000 package to Tk1.4-1.5 lakh.

“The air tickets for a #Umrah pilgrims cost around taka 40,000-55000 in pre-pandemic times and this may go up to around Tk80,000-90,000 now,” M Shahadat Hossain Taslim, president of the Haab, told The Business Standard.

 

Shahadat, however, said they are yet to finalise the Umrah package.

 

He said Saudi Arabia will not allow more than two people in a room this time while a number of pilgrims used to share a room earlier. Besides, the devotees will have to be accommodated in star-rated hotels.

 

According to Haab, transportations in Saudi Arabia will allow vehicles running at a half-capacity, which will also add up to the pilgrimage cost.

SAUDI ARABIA: Foreign pilgrims express Joy over return of Umrah

 

Around 2.5 lakh people from Bangladesh visit Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah each year through private management, said Haab sources. Bangladesh Biman and Saudi flag carrier Saudia carry the passengers.

 

 

At a Haab meeting Sunday, State Minister for religious affairs Faridul Haque Khan urged the airlines to reduce the airfare for Umrah pilgrims. The meeting attended by top executives of Biman and Saudia, however, did not determine the minimum airfare.

 

 

Abu Saleh Mostafa Kamal, managing director and chief executive officer of Biman Bangladesh Airlines, said, “The air fare has increased amid the pandemic due to newly arisen issues such as capacity restriction and virus safety management. However, our fare for Umrah pilgrims would be $20-50 less than other airlines.”

 

 

Bangladeshi authorities on 11 August resumed the processing for Umrah pilgrimage as Saudi Arabia resumed Umrah for overseas devotees after around 17 months.

 

 

Saudi authorities said the pilgrims must be 18 years and above who have already received two doses of coronavirus vaccine.

 

Religious affairs ministry said there is a mandatory requirement of vaccination against Covid-19 with complete doses of either Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or J&J. This means complete doses of China’s vaccines with booster shots of either Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or J&J.

 

 

Umrah pilgrimage for Bangladeshis may face issues as the country is largely depending on Chinese shots for its mass inoculation programme.

 

Mohammad Zahirul Islam, #Bangladeshi #hajj councillor to Saudi Arabia, told the Sunday Haab virtual meeting that Dhaka has requested Riyadh to allow people jabbed with the Chinese vaccine.

 

“Talks are going on as there has been no conclusive decision yet,” he told the meeting.

 

Umrah is an Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca – the holiest city for Muslims located in Saudi Arabia – that can be undertaken at any time of the year, while #Hajj is observed on specific dates according to the Islamic lunar calendar.

 

Although Umrah can be performed all year round, most Umrah pilgrims from Bangladesh go to Saudi Arabia during the November-April period, according to Haab.

 

The Saudi authorities suspended Umrah until further notice on 26 February last year to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

 

Saudi authorities did not allow the foreigners staying out of the country to perform hajj in 2020 and 2021.

 

The move has hit around 1,238 Hajj and Umrah agencies in Bangladesh, causing them to lose around Tk14,175 crore in turnover in the last two hajj and Umrah seasons.

ARAB NEWS

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