Umrah keeps travel agents busy in Hyderabad

Friday, February 21, 2020

Hyderabad: Despite Ramzan two months away, tour and travel operators have begun efforts to attract people intending to undertake the Umrah pilgrimage during the holy month.

Travel agents are offering various special packages at ‘affordable rates’ for families and groups of friends who intend to take the pilgrimage. Social media is already abuzz with promotions of tour operators who want to make the most of the rising trend.

Muslims usually consider it pious to perform Umrah during the month of Ramzan. The Umrah pilgrimage can be performed any time of the year unlike the Haj pilgrimage which has specific dates.

“Between 10,000 and 12,000 people visit Saudi Arabia for performing Umrah during the month of Ramzan every year. It is mostly because of the belief that performing Umrah in Ramzan has special merits,” said Hafez Mohd Faiyaz Ali, executive member, Haj and Umrah Tour Organisers Association.

The number of people heading for Umrah is expected to be high this year as the Ramzan month falls during April – May when there is annual vacation for schools and colleges. “We expect more families to visit Saudi Arabia this year for the religious ritual. Bookings have already started in the city especially for the last 10 days of Ramzan considered the most pious phase of the holy month,” said Faisal Amoodi of Al Amoodi Travels.

Tour operators in the city offer Umrah package of various categories including budget and economy package. The amount is calculated depending upon the accommodation selected for stay during the pilgrimage and other facilities opted.

Generally, the trip for one person costs between Rs 50,000 and Rs 80,000 depending on the facilities offered by the tour operator. “In Ramzan, the same package costs between Rs 80,000 and Rs 1.15 lakh,” explained Mohd Ghouse of Arkaan Tours and Travels.

The tour operators say that they have started booking from the start of this month as arrangements have to be made for accommodation and flight tickets.

“There is a huge demand. People from other countries plan the pilgrimage six months before and book the accommodations at most of the hotels in Mecca and Madina cities. Hotels increase their tariffs. Similarly, airlines hike up the fares due to high demand so we are also starting early to pass on the benefits to the pilgrims,” explained Baba Tajuddin of Azlaan Tours and Travels.

The tour operators want the government to crack down on fake tour operators who cheat the public on the pretext of arranging the pilgrimage tour at cheaper rates and dupe them.

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