First batches of pilgrims set to arrive as annual Umrah season begins on Wednesday

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Okaz/Saudi Gazette

MAKKAH โ€” The first batches of Umrah pilgrims from abroad will arrive in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, Muharram 1, the first day of the new Hijri year 1445, coinciding the beginning of the annual Umrah season.

All the Umrah related government and private agencies and sectors have completed their integrated preparations to receive the pilgrims and extend them the best ever possible facilities and services to perform their rituals in ease and comfort.

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah urged all the licensed Umrah service providing companies and establishments to provide excellent service for the pilgrims, and not to breach their obligations in the provision of the services. It said that Article 7 of the regulation for services of foreign pilgrims and visitors to the Prophetโ€™s Mosque stipulates that the licensed company or establishment that violates any of the provisions and regulations shall face punitive measures.

The penalties include fines amounting to a maximum of SR50,000 and the suspension of the license for a period not exceeding six months, and the cancellation of the license granted to the establishment or company. Also, the licensed party abroad will be prohibited from dealing with licensed establishments and companies in the Kingdom if it violates any one of the contractual obligations. According to the regulation, those who serve pilgrims without obtaining the necessary license will be punished with a fine not exceeding SR100,000.

The Ministry of Hajj also cited several violations that will be examined by the Committee Looking int Complaints of Umrah Performers. These violations include failure in the provision of housing for the pilgrims; provision of unlicensed or unclassified housing; discrepancy in the housing program; failure to notify the ministry about changes in housing; failure in the provision of transportation; securing unlicensed transportation; discrepancy in transportation program; failure in receiving pilgrims; failure to confirm reservations for departure or failure to follow up on departure; failure to report about delayed pilgrims; provision of service by the external agent in Saudi territory or wrong or delayed regrouping of pilgrims; failure to educate pilgrims with regard to adhering to the permitted weight of baggage upon departure; and failure to supervise pilgrimsโ€™ departure.

The ministry also cited violations such as lack of a program for pilgrims in Madinah, and non-compliance with the instructions of dispersal; failure to direct the pilgrims to the correct housing location; the delay in securing housing; absence of a representative of the Umrah company to accompany pilgrims during the Umrah or the visit; failure to follow up on inpatients and cases of death or lost pilgrims and complete the procedures with regard to them.

The violations also include the failure to confirm reservations to visit the Rawdat Al-Sharif, and the absence of the representative to follow up departure of the pilgrims and not providing service according to the contract that was agreed upon, and not notifying the ministry in the event of cases of default.

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