Books – Youssef Afifi:
Farouk Muhammad Farouk, a former member of the Chamber of Tourism Companies and head of the Chamber’s e-tourism committee, revealed the features of the upcoming Umrah season after the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia receives pilgrims from inside.
Farouk Lamasrawi explained that the duration of the Umrah program for Egyptians this year is expected to range between 7-8 days only, instead of 15 days, provided that the value of the programs will increase, given the precautionary and preventive measures that will be applied.
He pointed out that accommodation in hotel rooms is limited to one or two persons at most per room, pointing out that the expected prices for the one-week Umrah program range from 14-20 thousand pounds for aviation, and about 11 thousand and 500 pounds for travelers by land.
He pointed out that the cost of the program increased by 40% over the past, as a result of the prices of air tickets, services, buses and PCR analysis, in addition to housing, so that the rooms became single and double instead of triple and quadruple.
He explained that Egyptian citizens will start performing Umrah, starting from next January, coinciding with the month of Rajab, indicating that the “Umrah” application, through which trips are organized, will determine the number of times the pilgrims enter the Grand Mosque during the program.
Farouk continued: “The performance of Umrah will be very limited and restricted and will not be open as it was in the past, as long as no real vaccine appears for Corona approved by the World Health Organization, with appointments for the entry and exit of pilgrims and worshipers and other measures .. It will not remain in absolute freedom such as the past”.
He added, “The pilgrim will spend a specific period inside the sanctuary, and it will not remain to enjoy the time, which we are used to from eating, drinking and sitting in the sanctuary from dawn until dinner.”
Farouk expects that the Umrah quota for Egypt will continue on the same numbers during the past years, estimated at 500,000 visas, stressing that the Egyptian tourism companies are very capable of implementing these numbers in a short time.
For his part, Nasser Turk, a member of the Egyptian Federation of Tourist Chambers, said that the Egyptian side awaits the new mechanism for Saudi decisions regarding the numbers and organization of the new Umrah season for Egyptian pilgrims.
Turk indicated that, with the return of Umrah trips, during the month of November, there will be an increase in the prices of Umrah programs, due to health controls, transportation controls, high airline tickets prices, the price of PCR analysis, especially Corona, and the limited number allowed Him to travel to perform Umrah.
In a related context, tourism companies operating in Hajj and Umrah announced their expectations regarding the new season, explaining that it will be a difficult season due to several things, including:
First: There are two PCR analyzes going to Saudi Arabia and returning to Egypt, the first in Egypt at 1270 pounds, and Saudi Arabia is expected to request certain laboratories to conduct the analysis, and the second analysis in Saudi Arabia at 860 Saudi riyals.
Second: EgyptAir, Saudi aviation and private aviation are studying setting the ticket price at a value of 8,000 pounds to compensate for the past suspension period.
Third: Transport in Saudi Arabia per person for 240 riyals.
Fourth: Economic housing is two-way instead of quadruple, which means twice the amount, in addition to the room price increase, while the price of 4 and 5-star hotels will witness a significant increase.
Fifth: The increase in the price of ground services and visas in Saudi Arabia, in addition to 800 pounds for room fees, and a letter of guarantee for companies at a price of 500,000, in addition to the new application in Saudi Arabia to organize entry to the campus.
As of October 4, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, in cooperation with the concerned authorities, received the first pioneers of pilgrims from within the Kingdom, in implementation of generous directives to allow the performance of Umrah and visit gradually according to four stages, while taking the necessary health precautionary measures, and in response to the aspiration of many Muslims at home and abroad to perform Umrah and visit rituals.
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