UAE: Umrah packages 25% cheaper as prices drop during summer

A few residents are opting to postpone their pilgrimage to September, hoping for a slight decrease in temperatures


SM Ayaz Zakir

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Published: Wed 10 Jul 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Sat 13 Jul 2024, 7:34 PM

Umrah season has already resumed now that Haj ended, with pilgrimage packages being offered at discounted rates due to lower demand. Now, they are nearly 25 per cent cheaper than those available during cooler months.

It can be noted that the authorities had temporarily halted the Umrah pilgrimage from May 23 to June 6 to pave the way for Haj.

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Speaking to Khaleej Times, some Umrah agents attribute the reduced prices to the soaring temperatures brought about by the summer season, which have deterred many pilgrims. “The decrease in demand for Umrah pilgrimage during the summer months has led to a reduction in package prices by approximately 25 per cent,” said Qaiser Mahmood of ASAA Tourism in Abu Hail.

Postponed pilgrimage

A few UAE residents are opting to postpone their Umrah pilgrimage to September, hoping for a slight decrease in temperatures.

Arif Hussain, a 48-year-old resident of Deira, initially planned to go on Umrah in July. However, after reading about the deaths during this year's Haj, he changed his mind and opted for a September trip. “I planned to do the pilgrimage with my children and my mother, but the weather is currently not favourable. It will be difficult for us,” said Hussain.

During this year's Haj 1,301 pilgrims died due to the intense heat. This year's pilgrimage took place during a severe heatwave, with temperatures exceeding 50℃. Some were exposed to heat for long periods without adequate shelter or rest.

Peak rates

The package rates during the cooler months start at Dh 3,200 by air and Dh1,600 by bus. “Currently, the Umrah package for four days by air starts at Dh2,500 and Dh1,100 by bus,” said Mahmood.

Shihab Parwad of Rehan Al Jazeera Tourism told Khaleej Times that during the last ten days of the holy month of Ramadan, Umrah packages rose to nearly three times of its usual price. “The packages were priced at Dh6,000 by air and Dh2,500 by bus,” said Shihab.

However, some agents mentioned that they will continue to charge Dh3,200 as they are providing enhanced facilities, such as better food and accommodation, closer to the place of worship.

“The availability of hotels near the holy sites are mostly sold out throughout the year. But we reserve accommodation so that we can offer it to our clients for easy accessibility,” said Mahmood.

Umrah visas

Saudi authorities are now issuing visas for Umrah and pilgrims will need to pay an extra Dh200 for a single entry visa.

The new Umrah season will coincide with the month of Muharram 1145 Ah (July 19). Those wanting to perform the ritual can apply for electronic visas through the Nusuk application.

According to Pawad, UAE residents who would like to travel to Madinah could still expect a huge crowd. “While most Haj pilgrims who travelled to Saudi Arabia are now returning to their home countries, many are still in Madinah spending their time in devotion," he said.

“Despite the summer heat, there are always devoted pilgrims, and we strive to provide them with the best facilities and services possible,” added Parwad.

Visiting Madinah is not a mandatory rite under Haj or Umrah. People can choose to go to Madinah either before or after completing their pilgrimage. However, the special significance of the Prophet's city, his mosque, and his sacred tomb is enough to encourage many pilgrims to visit.

Umrah agents have also said that UAE residents can now travel to any airport in Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah. Previously, before the Haj season, access was restricted to only four airports.


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