80% of Umrah companies fail to renew licenses

80% of Umrah companies fail to renew licenses
Updated 23 February 2015

80% of Umrah companies fail to renew licenses

80% of Umrah companies fail to renew licenses

Maher Saleh Jamal, chairman of the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has said the companies in the Umrah and Haj sector are considered the most prominent among all sectors in the Kingdom. In fact, the Umrah and Haj sector acts as a catalyst for other sectors like transport, housing, nutrition, and retailing.
During the annual meeting with the owners and managers of Umrah companies, Jamal said more attention should be paid to improving this sector given that it is one of the most important ones for diversifying the Kingdom’s income sources.
He said the role of the chamber is to link investors and companies with authorities in order to work on overcoming obstacles and challenges.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Haj said new mechanisms for the renewal of permits of companies in the sector will be applied. While the ministry has not yet disclosed specific requirements and controls, expected controls include increasing the working capital of companies in the sector.
About 80 percent of Umrah companies, or about 48 companies, have yet to renew their licenses.
A meeting with company owners is scheduled for the month of Rajab (after two months) to discuss these new licensing requirements, as the 90-day period for the Ministry of Haj to develop detailed guidelines of the regulations has come to an end.
Osama Felali, head of the National Committee for Haj and Umrah, said one of the greatest accomplishments is the decline in the number of undocumented pilgrims.
Other notable accomplishments include the development of an electronic website with a list of information of foreign agents in order to enable the signing of contracts with companies in the sector, as well as the facilitation of meetings among various government and private sector authorities to discuss services, operational and strategic plans, said Abdullah Omar Qadi, vice president of the committee.
According to Qadi, the committee also successfully participated in the Third Annual Umrah Festival in Sudan, which has led to successful negotiations and discussions regarding challenges faced by Saudi and Sudanese companies. Six outstanding cases between Saudi and Egyptian pilgrim servicing companies were also resolved.