Director of Hajj Development at the Ministry of Religious Affairs Arsyad Hidayat during a rehearsal for Hajj service posts at the Hajj dormitory in Jakarta on Saturday (April 15, 2023). ANTARA/Nur Istibsaroh
I think the percentage (of Hajj service readiness) is above 90 percent
The Director of Hajj Development at the Ministry of Religious Affairs Arsyad Hidayat stated that several services for the 2023 Hajj pilgrimage have been ready.
“Alhamdulillah (thank God), several service contracts have been ready. I think the percentage (of Hajj service readiness) is above 90 percent,” Hidayat stated during a rehearsal for Hajj service posts at the Hajj dormitory in Jakarta on Saturday.
He explained that several unfinished contracts are related to prices, among others. According to Hidayat, Indonesia has a high bargaining power because apart from having the largest number of pilgrims, hotel managements in Saudi Arabia prefer to cater to Hajj pilgrims from Indonesia.
He noted that according to confessions from hotel managements, Indonesian Hajj pilgrims do not demand much, are not troublemakers, and do not cause problems when services do not align with their expectations.
“There are those (pilgrims) from other countries that put oranges down the toilet because they were disappointed with the hotel services,” he revealed.
When a problem occurs, Indonesian Hajj pilgrims prefer to report them to officers, who will then convey the matter to the sectoral head of Hajj officers in Saudi Arabia. The hotel will then be urged to fix the problem and use it for evaluation.
Indonesia also applies the 50-30-20 payment scheme under which 50 percent of the hotel costs are paid in advance, 30 percent when the pilgrims enter the room, and 20 percent is paid after the pilgrims leave the hotel.
He explained that when hotel services are inadequate, the 20-percent cost that has not been paid at the end will be cut to only paying 17-18 percent according to the level of mistake.
“For hotel prices, the government refers to the budget agreed upon with the House of Representatives (DPR),” he stated.
This year, some 221 thousand Hajj pilgrims from Indonesia will join the pilgrimage. Of the figure, 203,320 are regular Hajj pilgrims, who will receive accommodation, catering, and transportation services from the government.
The first phase of the Hajj pilgrim departure to Saudi Arabia will start on May 24, 2023. To check the readiness of services, such as hotels, food, and transportation, the advance team will depart first.
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