No fee on domestic Umrah pilgrims


Saudi Gazette report

— The Ministry of Haj and Umrah has categorically refuted social media rumors that it will impose fees on domestic Umrah pilgrims, Al-Madina Arabic newspaper reported on Monday.

Social media was agog with rumors that the ministry will be collecting a fee of SR400 to SR700 from domestic Umrah pilgrims who are above 18 years of age.

The rumors also stated that the ministry will set up offices to collect fees at airports and entry points to Makkah.

The justification given in social media rumors was that the ministry had taken this measure to reduce the number of pilgrims in view of the ongoing construction work in Makkah.

The ministry refuted the rumors and released a statement clarifying that it plans to expand the accommodation capacity of pilgrims from the current 8 million to 15 million by 2020 and 30 million by 2030.

It will also work on facilitating the pilgrimage visa process and digitalizing more of its services.

The ministry will be working to achieve five goals in light of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. The goals include strategizing and planning, ensuring the quality of services, raising the qualifications of employees, improving the cooperation between various government agencies, initiatives to implement the ministry’s goals and supporting other initiatives that promote these goals.

The ministry identified a number of challenges in its way, which include low awareness about the role of the ministry in the pilgrimage process, unqualified employees in pilgrimage campaigns, lack of efficient cooperation between the private and public sectors in organizing pilgrimage campaigns.