MAKKAH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has canceled the licenses of five Umrah companies for failing to fulfil their obligations toward pilgrims, and for violating the provisions of regulating Umrah services provided to pilgrims and visitors to ensure the best quality.
The ministry made it clear that it receives all observations and complaints, and deals with them immediately to ensure that the experience of pilgrims is enriched, and that they are offered the highest quality standards to perform their rituals with calm and ease, stressing that it will not allow complacency or negligence in serving pilgrims.
Hajj and Umrah services adviser, Ahmed Saleh Halabi, told Arab News that the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah had taken a completely new approach.
He said: “Under the new approach, those who do their work well are honored but, at the same time, wrongdoers are punished. What happened to the five Umrah companies that were recently written off (had their licenses cancelled), confirms this.
“It said that the companies were punished for their shortcomings in the obligations and services provided to the Umrah performers.”
He noted that it was clear the ministry was paying more attention to the comfort of pilgrims and Umrah performers, and visitors to the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.
“What Umrah companies offer must be consistent with the state’s interest and care for pilgrims and Umrah performers.
“While I agree with the ministry in this procedure, which certainly came after several warnings, I think that the ministry needs to support Umrah companies and study the obstacles that service providers face, as there are many obstacles that it needs to address,” Halabi added.
The ministry said it had began receiving requests to issue visas for pilgrims coming from outside the Kingdom from around the world to perform the rituals of Umrah and visit the Prophet’s Mosque, starting from last Thursday, and the first batch of pilgrims coming from inside and outside the Kingdom will arrive on July 29.
Permits can be issued to pilgrims from inside the Kingdom through the Umrah app, amid an integrated system of services, stressing the need to adhere to health measures to maintain the safety and health of pilgrims and visitors, and to facilitate procedures to ensure the performance of Umrah rituals.