UAE: Haj packages worth Dh30,000 sold out with pilgrimage season just weeks away, say operators

Some agencies customise packages to meet the needs and preferences of their clients — but even for such options, slots are fully booked

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AFP file photo
AFP file photo

SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Sat 13 May 2023, 3:26 PM

Last updated: Sat 13 May 2023, 11:27 PM

With the Haj season just a few weeks away, a number of UAE operators have been flooded with calls and enquiries from residents who wish to go on a pilgrimage. However, all their packages are now fully booked.

This year, Saudi Arabia has not imposed restrictions on the number of pilgrims — the first time the Kingdom made such a decision after three years of Covid-19 curbs. Haj pilgrims in the UAE will start their journey on June 19, and their return is scheduled on July 3.

The demand spiked because the pilgrimage season is happening at the same time as the summer vacation, said Abdul Rashid from Safiya Travels, which caters to mainly Indian nationals residing in Dubai.

"Several residents rushed to secure their place," said Rashid, adding that they have no packages left. “Being one of the largest Umrah aggregator in Dubai, I got a 50-seat quota for Haj. Many others got 20 or slightly more. But these were sold out a few days ago."

On average, a complete Haj package costs between Dh30,000 and Dh35,000, he added. This includes flight tickets, accommodation, and transportation to and from the holy sites. These all-inclusive offers are the most popular among UAE residents, according to Rashid.

Some agencies customise packages to meet the specific needs and preferences of their clients — but even for such options, slots are fully booked.

“Our Hajj packages were sold out a few days ago. Many of those who booked the packages would want to return to their hometowns for summer vacation,” said Yahya Hallare, owner of Arafa Haj and Umrah Services.

A few of Hallare's clients will be sending their children to their hometowns, and from Saudi Arabia, the pilgrims will be heading to their countries instead of coming back to the UAE.

"Some of them booked their return to the UAE and then scheduled their onward journey to their home countries,” Hallare added. For such itineraries, customised packages are requested.

At the arrival airport, residents will be welcomed by buses that will take them to the holy city of Makkah and then to the holy city of Madina. The pilgrims will visit various historical sites and fly out to their destinations either from Jeddah or Madina.


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