Faizel Patel, Radio Islam News - 18-09-2019
A South African travel operator and member of the South African Muslim Travel Association says new rules by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has resulted in Umrah visas incurring additional costs.
In a post on WhatsApp, Fazila Malek from New Heights Travel says the new system requires that all land arrangements be required to be booked on Ministry of Hajj and Umrah’s online portal.
Malek in the post says to date not all hotels are loaded, forcing the issue of booking and paying other hotels such as two and three stars just to obtain the visa.
“This incurs additional cost as hotels of your choice and preference are still required to be booked separately as per standard sold packages.”
Malek says many visa operators in the kingdom are finding the new rule very complicated and forcing the issue of double paying accommodation, which New Heights does not agree with.
“At this point until further notice from the kingdom, the system remains and is beyond our control. We do believe that other operators have contacted clients requesting to make additional payments towards packages but we do not opt for this as many passengers do not or will not have the means to paying such high amounts in addition to what has already been paid.”
Malek says the Umrah visa complication affects South Africa and other countries globally.