Hajj & Umrah 2020 Travel Advice
The current COVID-19 crisis means that there is uncertainty in many industries, the Hajj and Umrah industry is no different.
Travel agents may not yet be in the possession of all the answers regarding Hajj and Umrah, which makes it even more important to ensure you are protected. We want to ensure pilgrimages are safe and that pilgrims don’t lose money.
On the 27th February the Ministry of Hajj & Umrah announced the temporary suspension of Umrah until further notice due to fears over the Coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading.
There is no specific date set by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to resume Umrah until now, this includes during the month of Ramadan. As such you should contact your travel agent to discuss options. If they are unable to fulfil the trip, then under the Package Travel Regulations you are entitled to a full refund.
The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has processed refunds for all fees for Muslims issued with Umrah visas but could not arrive due to the temporary suspension of Umrah.
On Tuesday 31st March 2020, the Minister of Haj & Umrah announced that Saudi Arabia is exerting all its efforts to fight Coronavirus and urges Muslims to wait until there is more clarity about the Coronavirus pandemic, before planning to attend the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
If you were planning to go for Hajj, we advise you to hold off from making any bookings, until further instructions are received from the Saudi Authorities.
If you have an existing booking we advise you to explore all options with your family, including possible postponement to Hajj 2021. However, do not make any decisions just yet and wait for further information and guidance. If you were to cancel now, you will be subject to a cancellation fee, as per your booking contract. However at this point, we do advise you to hold off from making any further instalment payments on existing bookings until further information is released.
In the meantime, check that you have booked with an Air Travel Organisers License (ATOL) holder who is licensed by the Ministry of Haj & Umrah and that you have been issued with an ATOL certificate. Having ATOL protection means that, if your travel company ceases trading, your money is protected and the ATOL scheme is able to refund you for financial loss.
Booking a Pilgrimage Package
When the Saudi Authorities resume Umrah and make announcements for Hajj 2020. Please follow these three steps when booking your pilgrimage package;
- Only ever book with ATOL protected agents, who are Ministry of Hajj & Umrah Licensed.
- Insist that you get full ATOL information including an ATOL certificate at the point of booking. Do not wait until the money is paid or until instalments are cleared, this may be too late. You need the information immediately.
- If you have ANY concerns at all then seek further advice.