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Doha: Haj pilgrims travelling by air will end up paying 33 percent more this year amounting to QR24,000 as compared to last year’s QR18,000, several Haj operators were quoted as saying by Al Raya yesterday.
Apart from general packages which include accommodation in hotels, those opting for towers in Makkah will have to pay as much as QR30,000 to 35,000, while fares for pilgrims traveling by road will range from QR12,000 to QR13,000.
Because of an increase in fares, the number of expatriates going for Haj has also gradually come down over the years, the Arab daily quoted sources as saying.
Many are calling on the Haj Committee to reduce the price of air tickets, which is QR4,800, saying that with the additional cost of living in Makkah and Madina, the packages become unaffordable for many expatriates in Qatar.
At least one of the tour operators claimed that these packages are not very expensive.
According to Hassan Majid Al Hajiri, a tour operators, the price of QR12,000 for pilgrims traveling by road is affordable given the services provided in the package.
“As it is, if the number of people going for Haj is less than 200 in one group, it leads to losses for us,” another Haj operator was quoted as saying.
Earlier, some of the tour operators had complained that they were excluded from the inspection visit of Makkah and Madina, despite the fact that they provided necessary data to Qatar’s Haj Committee. During a inspection visit, Haj Committee members, along with the operators, inspect the housing, transport and food services in Makkah and Madina for the pilgrims.
In response to that, Abdul Hakeem bin Ali Al Abdullah, head of the Haj Delegation Committee, denied the claims of excluding Haj operators from inspection visits, which are taking place these days, according to a report published in Al Sharq yesterday.
Al Sharq sources also said that the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs will not be changing the Haj Committee this year, which changes every year.