The Saudi ministry of Hajj and Umra (pilgrimage) asked Egyptian tourism companies organising the upcoming pilgrimage season to pay additional fees for each pilgrim visiting the holy lands, according to the Egyptian Travel Agents Association (ETAA).
The companies should pay SAR 1,029 for each pilgrim coming through the Pilgrims’ City in Jeddah, and SAR 941.5 for each pilgrim coming through Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz Airport in Medina. The Saudi ministry also set a fee of SAR 573 for each pilgrim coming in to Saudi Arabia by land, which will be paid by the tourism companies, according to a message sent by the ETAA to its members.
The number of pilgrims travelling through tourism companies amounts to approximately 30,000 out of 70,000 Egyptian pilgrims, which is the total annual quota allowed for Egypt.
An official in the ETAA said that the request of the Saudi ministry to pay these fees is not limited to only Egyptian pilgrims, but extends to all pilgrims worldwide.
He added that the pilgrimage costs in Egypt have increased by approximately 20% in the current season due to the increase of the Saudi riyal’s exchange rate against the Egyptian pound.
“Although the prices of aeroplane fuel have decreased worldwide, the prices of the Egyptians’ flights did not, which has led to a hike in prices of tourism services for Egyptians visiting the holy lands,” the official added.