The Egyptian Travel Agents Association (ETAA) is contracting with the Tawafa Establishment to provide pilgrims from Arab states with Tawafa services during this Haj season.
The value of the services provided to pilgrims to the holy places in Arafat and Mina is worth $18.5m.
Chairman of the Economic Committee of the ETAA Basil El-Sisi told Daily News Egypt that the agreement came under the auspices of the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism, which gave great bargaining power to the association ahead of the Saudi Tawaf Establishment in this season.
The cost of services for the pilgrimage this year is SAR 200 (EGP 418) higher than the last year, according to El-Sisi. Daily News Egypt received the price list for the Haj services issued by the establishment for this season.
The price of the first class Haj is SAR 3,700. The second class costs SAR 3,150. The third class and Haj by land both cost SAR 1,700.
Egypt’s annual share of pilgrims is 79,100 Haj pilgrims. However, the Saudi authorities have reduced this share by 20% in the last two seasons, due to the expansions carried out in the Grand Mosque in Mecca, which are expected to be completed during the next season, according to El-Sisi.
Egypt’s share of Hajj visas is administrated by three ministries; the Ministry of Social Solidarity through NGOs, the Ministry of Interior, and the Ministry of Tourism through ETAA companies.
According to El-Sisi, ETAA companies administrated a total of 29,100 Haj visas this season.
ETAA companies have been requesting to administrate the entire Egyptian share of Haj visas for the past 20 years, as it lies under their jurisdictions according to a ruling issued by the Administrative Court.
According to an ETAA official, EGP 150m is squandered when the interior ministry administrates and organises Haj pilgrimages. In addition to that, both the ministries of Social Solidarity and Interior are not qualified to organise Haj trips, which causes problems for pilgrims in the Saudi state and undermine the dignity of Egypt, the official said.