Performing Umrah is less expensive now after gov’t measures

(Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — Since the government decided to ease measures related to COVID-19 as of the beginning of March, Jordan Society of Tourism and Travel Agents (JSTTA) member and representative of hajj and Umra companies Essam Al-Shaer said that the price for performing  Umra (lesser pilgrimage) will be lowered and, hopefully, there will be more demand for it this year.اضافة اعلان

Shaer told Jordan News that cancelling the PCR test is a strong incentive for those wishing to perform Umra to book their trips during this period, “as the cost of the trip decreased by approximately JD70”. 

He also expressed hope that things will return to the way they were before “so that Umra can be performed by everyone”.

Only about 7,000 people performed Umra from the beginning of the current year so far, and these are a “tiny number”, said Shaer, pointing out that in the years preceding the pandemic, between 350,000 and 450,000 people performed this pilgrimage every year.

Shaer also said he hoped there will be more cooperation between Jordan and Saudi Arabia to facilitate travel for people and give them more opportunities to perform Umra with least effort and at lowest costs.

Saudi Arabia still imposes some measures on Umra pilgrims, in general, and specifically on the Tawaf (circumambulating the Kaaba while performing the pilgrimage) for which it is now required to make prior appointments and to abide by specific paths and distances.

Noureddin Abu Hilal, owner of one of the hajj and Umra tour companies, told Jordan News that people were afraid to travel till recently. Hence, the demand for Umra was weak.

Moreover, the strict measures imposed by Jordan and Saudi Arabia played a significant role in reducing the number of travelers.  However, easing these measures this year means lowering costs and thus giving people more opportunities, he said.

Umra, Abu Hilal said, is one of the Islamic rituals that helps people relieve stress and gives them spiritual comfort.

“People now need such an opportunity after the difficult period everyone went through. Therefore, continuing to facilitate travel procedures as well as protecting the safety of travelers is essential,” he said.

“The time has come to return to normal life gradually, and this applies to all sectors, and the government has to study more mitigating measures for the long term,” Abu Hilal added.

The matter is not limited to hajj and Umra trips, sector officials say, as travel from and to Jordan is bound to be positively and directly affected as well.

Ministry of Tourism spokesman Ahmad Al-Rifai told Jordan News that the ease of restrictions related to the COVID-19 epidemic, recently announced by the government, will contribute to alleviating the consequences of the pandemic on the tourism sector and revitalize tourism. 

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