Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam. All financially and physically stable Muslims are obligated to perform Hajj at least once in their lifetime. This year’s Hajj 2022 will probably take place on July 7-12, 2022 (1443 A.H.). On June 7, 2022, approximately 25 days before the Hajj, the Saudi government announced new regulations for the Hajj, allowing citizens of the United Kingdom, the United States, Europe, and Australia to register for the annual pilgrimage through its website. The online portal, linked to the Hajj Umrah packages, is designed to issue visas to Muslims in the West based on automated lottery results.
With the announcement of the new Hajj rules and regulations. The Ministry of Hajj Umrah took back its authority from travel agents and asked them to provide full refunds to all Hajj pilgrims. Direct customer booking has simplified the Hajj registration system, as only hotels and flight reservations have once the application is accepted (selected through a lottery system). You must book directly with the Saudi Arabian government. In addition, according to the Ministry of Hajj and Pilgrimage, priority will be given in 2022 to those vaccinated against COD-19, under 65 years old, and inexperienced. The Hajj is not over yet.
When was it announced?
A few weeks before the Hajj, on June 7, 2022, the Saudi government announced new rules/regulations for the Hajj. Which will require travelers from Western countries to make new reservations. Instead of booking through a travel agency. Hajj registration must be done through a global online portal.
Why is the Ministry of Hajj & Umrah doing this?
It is understood that the Ministry of Hajj & Umrah has implemented this new system to centralize all tourism and travel activities. The data collected through registration on the website will allow them complete control and improve the system. It will also be up to the Saudi authorities to decide whether to enable the Hajj according to specific criteria.
- Covid-19 will require vaccination.
- First-time Hajj performers.
- Must be under 65 years of age.
What does this mean for pilgrims from around the world?
The Saudi government announce the new Hajj system/rules three weeks before. As the Hajj was confusing worldwide. With the launch of this portal, those planning to perform Hajj this year. Tell them to cancel their reservations and recover by registering their e-tickets on the website.
This last-minute announcement not only affecting the plans of thousands of pilgrims. But also deprived travel agencies and tour operators of an essential source of income. He felt that the lucky lottery system could no longer rely upon.
New Lottery System
The new web-based Hajj portal system, a one-stop store for pilgrims, will give Hajj exclusivity to a single provider. The website lottery system covers everything from booking visas and accommodations to selecting your preferred Hajj package. However, if you live in Australia, the U.S., Europe, or the U.K. and plan to go to Hajj this year, your application will not be valid because you will have to register through the website. And then wait for the Hajj to arrive. It is the result of the lottery to see if it will select you and your family.
- The new lottery system claims to be convenient. Because it brings everything related to the Hajj process together in one place.
- However, announcing 25 days before the Hajj creates more problems and confusion.
- Saudi Arabia has canceled all reservations made through travel agencies. So pilgrims must request refunds and formally reapply through the portal for the Hajj.
- And it is unlikely that they will accept the request. Because, after all, the new lottery system is entirely dependent on luck.
Will it affect the price of the Hajj after 2022?
Thanks to the new Hajj system. Hajj expenses will reduce after 2022 because there is no need to pay an outside facilitator (travel agent). According to the official Hajj website, Western Hajj pilgrims can choose from three different packages: platinum, gold, and silver. These packages include visa fees, lodging, and travel expenses.
What does this mean for Hajj travel agents in the U.K.?
Each year, approximately 25,000 British Muslims make the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The British Hajj sector (worth $517.5 million) is on the verge of collapse. Following the Saudi government’s announcement of a new Hajj regime. British citizens will no longer be able to book Hajj. Travel agents and tour operators are in danger of losing their jobs and an essential annual source of income. Travel agents must reimburse those registered and pay for Hajj packages in 2022.
Under the new Hajj system, British Muslims must register for Hajj through the hajj Umrah travel agencies providing October Umrah packages and pray for their names to be selected in the lottery. Travel agents have no permit; please note that this is the only way to register for Hajj.