The airlines have agreed to take all measures to postpone or cancel the flights of pilgrims to the Umrah, with full repayment of the amounts advanced to them in this connection. For their part, the Moroccan travel agencies have taken the necessary measures to recover the costs of visas, accommodation, transport and other services, and to refund the amounts to the Moroccans concerned, immediately after the completion of the administrative rules which require some time.
Following Saudi Arabia’s decision to prevent pilgrims from entering its territory for the Umrah or to visit the tomb of the Prophet (pbuh) and the Holy Places, travel agencies have set up a crisis unit to find a solution to this problem which has caused panic within the profession. Thus, the national federation of travel agencies held an emergency meeting to study the repercussions of the Saudi decision, just as it intensified contacts in order to take the necessary measures to preserve the rights of pilgrims.
For its part, the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah announced the launch of an electronic mechanism to request the recovery of visa fees and service charges through local Umrah agents in their countries of residence.
It should be recalled that Saudi Arabia has banned entry into its territory for the Umrah or to visit the Prophet’s Mosque, as part of preventive measures to deal with the Coronavirus, as confirmed by the Saudi News Agency, which said that the Kingdom has decided to suspend entry also for holders of tourist visas from countries where the virus has spread widely. It also banned the use by Saudis and citizens of Gulf Cooperation Council countries of the national identity card for travel to and from Saudi Arabia, stressing that these procedures remain temporary and are subject to an ongoing evaluation by the competent authorities.