Hajj and Umrah 2022: essential advice to avoid pilgrimage scams | SehndeWeb

Travelers looking to book Hajj or Umrah pilgrimages are warned against bogus offers and unlicensed companies putting their visit at risk. Over the years, people have lost thousands of pounds to fake ‘pop-up’ travel deals that aren’t allowed or don’t exist.

Traditionally, around 25,000 British Muslims make the pilgrimage each year. The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted travel to the holy site for the past two years, with the Hajj only available in 2021 for residents of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has now announced that Hajj 2022 will take place from July 7-12. Umrah pilgrimages are open to international travellers, with the Hajj welcoming one million pilgrims this year.

The Civil Aviation Authority urges travelers to check carefully and ensure that their pilgrimage is not ruined by booking through an unsavory company or individuals, or those who impersonate reputable travel agents. By researching, using a reliable and reputable company and verifying ATOL protection, pilgrims can travel safely knowing that their trip is financially protected.

Anna Bowles, head of consumer protection at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: ‘These trips have significant religious significance, and we want to make sure consumers are researching who they are considering booking with and that financial protection is there. in place to avoid disappointment.

“We have seen people lose thousands of pounds in recent years due to scams and bogus offers, and with an increase in travel to Makkah it is more important than ever for people to be vigilant. It is also very important to check that your provider is protected by ATOL, despite any recommendations you may receive from friends or family.

Rashid Mogradia of CBHUK (Council of British Hajjis) added: “As demand for Hajj 2022 is expected to exceed actual supply, we strongly urge British Muslims intending to perform Hajj to book with a licensed Hajj organizer based in the UK who is directly licensed by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and holds a valid Air Travel Operator License (ATOL).

“The organizer must have their own visa quota and the pilgrims must obtain written confirmation that the package they have purchased includes a Hajj visa. In addition, the organizer must issue its customers with an ATOL certificate at the time of the reservation, which will provide them with financial protection in the event of the company’s bankruptcy.

Travel tips for Hajj and Umrah:

Check ATOL protection: Look for the ATOL logo on your travel agent’s website, brochure or window display. You can also search for an ATOL holder via our “Check an ATOL” web page. ATOL protection means that if your travel agency goes bankrupt, you will receive support and financial assistance.



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Find your trip: Some companies falsely claim to have ATOL protection. Check the company name in the online database at www.atol.org

Check if your package includes a visa : Appoint a licensed travel agent and make sure they arrange a visa as part of your arrangements.

Beware of hidden fees : Be sure to check airport and accommodation fees, such as baggage allowance and accommodation transfers, to avoid any surprises.

Check financial protection if you book with non-UK travel agents: Some non-UK travel companies offer Hajj trips to UK consumers, but these will often not be protected by ATOL. Do your research and check what financial protection they offer.

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