The proprietress of one of the frontline Hajj/Umrah tour operators in Nigeria, Rabiat Umar, who is the managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of ALKAUTHAR TRAVELS is currently in Saudi Arabia performing Umrah as one of the few major stakeholders in the industry to travel for the exercise during the current Covid-19 pandemic.
HAJJ REPORTERS contacted Hajiya Umar for her experience to help guide intending pilgrims from Nigeria and she said that despite the protocols around Covid-19, it is basically easy to perform the lesser Hajj.
“I arrived Saudi Arabia through Jeddah and from there to Makkah where I performed my Tawaf,” she said.
Speaking further, she said “I finished everything there and proceeded to Madina. I did my visitations to holy sites in Madina and also visited majority of the hotels, including 5 and 4 star hotels in the city.
“I had meetings with some of the hoteliers. I didn’t see all such restrictions as reported in the media because I was allowed to perform my tawaf without hindrance. I even took pictures in the Haram, including the one I snapped near Hajral Aswad”
Hajiya Umar said on arrival, her team went straight for screening. “You just show your COVID-19 test result and they will direct you to go to immigration, from there, you check out”.
“There are no such restrictions as we thought. It is left for the company to follow all the rules, ” she said.
The Tour operator said for her and her team, “It has been a wonderful and beautiful trip. There was no stress. I did my Umrah. In fact, I performed Umrah four times. I have been visiting the Haram frequently. I always performed all the five daily prayers there without stress”.
On the recent restrictions on international flights by the Saudi Arabian authorities, she said she received the information and is going to “sit down with the Chairman of Hajj and Umrah operators. We are going to have a meeting today especially on the issue of COVID-19 tests and discuss”.
“We are optimistic that Umrah for 2021 Ramadan and Hajj 2021 will hold Insha Allah, ” she said.
Hajiya Umar said Saudi authorities are doing their best and that all what one needs is to comply with existing guidelines.
Saudi Arabian authorities had on Thursday announced a ban on entry to the kingdom for travellers from 20 countries including Argentina, United Arab Emirates, Germany, United States, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Pakistan, Brazil, Portugal, United Kingdom, Turkey, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, France, Lebanon, Egypt, India, and Japan.
Speaking on the effect of the ban on Nigerian travelers transmitting through some of the countries on the list, Hajiya Umar said “ for now, we have passengers that transit through Cairo and they have arrived the Kingdom. I knew that travelling out of the country is easy but coming in is difficult, but despite the ban, our pilgrims has arrived yesterday.
On Hajj 2021
The CEO of Alkautar travels also spoke about plans for Hajj 2021 in Saudi and she said “I have learned that the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah is planning for the Hajj and Umrah. There is hope in Sha Allah. They are making arrangements for all the hotels.
“I have visited some of them and discovered that they are strictly following the COVID-19 guidelines. They are following the guidelines of two person per room. They are following the guidelines against the pandemic. They are also changing the faces of the hotels”.
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