Prospective Hajj pilgrims must be prudent in selecting travel agencies serving non-quota Hajj pilgrimage, Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs Zainut Tauhid Sa’adi stated.
“We expect that (non-quota Hajj pilgrimage) will be organised only by licensed travel agencies with satisfactory experience and service quality,” Sa’adi noted here on Sunday.
The deputy minister remarked that the non-quota Hajj, referring to Hajj pilgrimage outside the national quota designated by the Saudi authority, is performed by a special mujamalah visa issued under discretion of the Saudi government.
The deputy minister expressed regret over pilgrims, who failed to perform their Hajj due to faulty special visa applications, particularly the case where 46 Hajj pilgrims were barred from entry by the Saudi Immigration upon arrival at the King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah, on Thursday (June 30) due to issues pertaining to their mujamalah visa.
It was known that the travel agency serving the 46 barred pilgrims, the Bandung-based PT Alfatih Indonesia Travel, is not registered in the ministry’s data, he noted.
Sa’adi, who concurrently serves as this year’s deputy Amir al-Hajj (Hajj leader) for Indonesia, opined that the incident would not occur if prospective pilgrims are careful in selecting their travel agent.
“(They must check whether travel agencies) have been registered, and those who are registered must pass another qualification whether they are allowed to serve special Hajj pilgrimage packages,” the deputy minister explained.
He also urged pilgrims to ensure that all aspects, including their travel documents, are valid and prepared properly before their departure to Saudi Arabia.
The case will be a valuable lesson for other prospective Hajj pilgrims to be selective in deciding their preferred Hajj travel agencies, the deputy Amir al-Hajj remarked, adding that the Religious Affairs Ministry will continue to evaluate the Hajj pilgrimage performed with the mujamalah visa.
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